EDGE is growing quickly, what about 3G?
By Eric Lin, Tue Nov 25 00:15:00 GMT 2003

If we there was a map of Europe or Asia where 3G has been deployed, and another for EDGE data, the two would look fairly similar. Even though there would only be about 50% overlap, about the same amount of land would be colored in on each chart. However if you add in the Americas and Australia, EDGE takes a big leap forward.

3G.co.uk adds the Americas to a map of EDGE deployment and it looks convincing. EDGE may only be a little more than half the speed of real world 3G throughputs, but it is three times faster than typical GPRS speeds. And since EDGE is just an upgrade to current GSM networks, it is inexpensive and relatively simple to deploy.

Because very little spectrum has actually been defined for 3G services in the US and none has been auctioned off yet, North America as a whole is running behind on 3G deployment. Here EDGE provides GSM carriers some competition with faster CDMA 2000 protocols while 3G licensing is worked out. In South America where data service are still young and costs generally need to be kept low, EDGE provides a great way to unwire the population without expensive equipment. Elsewhere EDGE can be an inexpensive alternative to 3G licensing fees, or a great way to boost data subscribers while 3G infrastructure is erected.

3G still has its place and eventually it will be available on a much broader scale, but EDGE is certainly making the wait more tolerable and making fast data more accessible.