24/01/2007

Low power GSM goes live

Mapesbury Communications also known as MCOM today made their first GSM call. Last year they won a GSM Guard Band license (1 of 12 licensees).

The set-up used a pico-cell BTS (basestations) connected to a soft-BSC (basestation controller) which in turn was connected to a soft-MSC (mobile system controller) and then used SIP to their VOIP servers which connected to the telephony network.

It all seemed to work rather well.

The Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) do not seem to be keen to allow them to interconnect with them, one even refusing to switch their Ofcom allocated number ranges as they're "not a real mobile network". Ofcom may not be too happy about it. In the meantime though they can offer private GSM services, just without roaming to the existing MNOs.

It seems plans will be to allow "free" calls to other MCOM users and any SIP users. Since connection to the PSTN isn't free, any PSTN calls will be charged for. This will also be true for calls to MCOM mobiles.

MCOM may set-up GSM "bubbles" or clouds, like current WiFi zones.

Low power GSM licensees could change the way people think about mobile pricing which is probably why the current MNO's are worried.
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