Global System for Mobile Communications

In 1992, this successful standard for Pan-European digital cellular telephony saw its first operational successes. The name GSM originated early in the 1980's as the French acronym for Groupe Special Mobile, the international working group tasked by most European PTT administrations to develop a common standard for cellular networks. A joint standard allows international roaming across the many European borders, until then only realized on a regional scale by the analog NMT-standard. The main advantages of a digital system are a larger user capacity per unit of spectrum, ease of implementation of sophisticated encryption, authentication, and other security features, and robustness against radio channel imperfections. A Pan-European standard further provides economies of scale in mass production of handheld and car terminals, which would never have been achieved in the fragmented national markets in Europe. At January 1st, 1995, commercial GSM service was offered in sixteen countries. The system had attracted 135 Million subscribers worldwide in 1998. It had a share of 45% of the cellular market, and 62% of the digital cellular market. Expectations are 250 Million subscribers in the year 2000.

Technical Aspects, Features and Services

Radio Access

GSM Data Services

DCS 1800

See also:

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JPL's Wireless Communication Reference Website Jean-Paul M.G. Linnartz, 1993, 1995.