Laptops to connect to global mobile networks

By | February 14, 2006

At the mobile world’s annual gathering, the 3GSM World Congress, the GSM Association (GSMA) and Intel Corporation today announced an initiative to facilitate and drive the adoption of the GSM family of technologies in laptop computers, to enable users to connect and seamlessly roam across global mobile networks.

The GSMA and Intel will collaborate to develop guidelines for integrating 3G modems and SIM cards into laptop computers, enabling automatic connection to both 3GSM networks and Wi-Fi networks around the world – using the same SIM card technology used by mobile phones today.

Some laptop makers have already announced their intentions to offer GSM capabilities, and these guidelines are key to ensure that they can quickly and easily provide these capabilities to laptop owners around the world. The GSMA and Intel will seek to engage organizations critical to market implementation, including mobile operators, PC manufacturers and network infrastructure providers.

“Our goal is to ensure that in future, every notebook will be SIM ready,” said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association. “This development brings the advantages and pervasiveness of the GSM platform to the notebook market, where this year sales of more than 60 million laptops are forecast worldwide. As 3G network roll-outs accelerate across the world, with additional media rich capabilities added through HSDPA upgrades, laptops with in-built connectivity to the 3GSM world will enable PC users to enjoy the full benefits of seamless access to mobile broadband wireless services with secure authentication. The mobile operator community will benefit from significant market and revenue growth opportunities.”

Sean Maloney, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Mobility Group, added: “During 2006, many of our customers will offer Intel Centrino Mobile Technology laptops that not only feature built in Wi-Fi technology, but also an internal 3GSM data card and an integrated SIM reader. This will turn the notebook into a real multi-communications terminal, and the SIM into a real authentication vehicle for GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3GSM, HSDPA and Wi-Fi networks.”

This initiative builds on the work completed within the GSMA, which has laid the groundwork for seamless roaming scenarios between networks of mixed technology infrastructure and the usage of the SIM card to provide Wi-Fi access control and billing. This initiative will focus on developing guidelines to include the GSM family of technologies including the new high speed 3G wireless broadband technology, HSDPA, in laptop computers.

“Embedding our 3G technology into laptops will deliver an unparalleled wireless experience for people who need broadband access to information anywhere in the world,” said Kris Rinne, chief technology officer for Cingular Wireless.

“This is an important initiative that will extend our Business Everywhere proposition, offering more customers a simple and seamless mobile experience. As we rollout HSDPA, the next phase of our mobile broadband strategy, customers will experience the real potential of this intiative”. Philippe Bernard, Executive VP, Orange Business Solutions

Alan Harper, Group Strategy Director, Vodafone Group said: “Our customers tell us they want simpler, joined-up services. Vodafone Mobile Connect has enabled our customers to access normal business applications remotely by installing software and a data card. Now, through this initiative and our existing relationship with PC manufacturers, Vodafone can offer ever more compelling ways to bring mobile broadband to life with automatic connection to Vodafone’s 3G, HSDPA and Wi-Fi networks from their laptops as standard.”

We at T-Mobile are excited about standardized integration of SIM cards into notebooks, enabling seamless wireless connectivity through different access technologies e.g. HSDPA & WiFi. This further supports T-Mobile´s “always best connected” strategy”, says T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Hamid Akhavan.

About the GSM Association:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 680 GSM mobile phone operators across 213 countries of the world. In addition, more than 170 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association´s members serve more than 1.6 billion customers – 78% of the world´s mobile phone users.

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