Guangdong Unicom, an affiliate of China Unicom (CHU), will fully launch its EGPRS service in nine cities within the province at the start of 2007.
Some of the cities include Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Foshan and Zhuhai. Earlier this year, Shanghai Unicom held the first EGPRS public service display in cooperation with Nokia, which symbolized the commencement of a formal running of China Unicom's first EGPRS.
EGPRS, known as Enhanced General Radio Packet Service, has a transmission speed of as high as 474kpbs. EDGE/EGPRS is implemented as a bolt-on enhancement to 2G and 2.5G GSM and GPRS networks, making it easier for existing GSM carriers to upgrade to it. EDGE/EGPRS is a superset to GPRS and can function on any network with GPRS deployed on it, provided the carrier implements the necessary upgrades.
Although EDGE requires no hardware changes to be made in GSM core networks, base stations must be modified. EDGE compatible transceiver units must be installed and the base station subsystem (BSS) needs to be upgraded to support EDGE. New mobile terminal hardware and software is also required to decode/encode the new modulation and coding schemes and carry the higher user data rates to implement new services.