Currently, almost all network operators worldwide are upgrading their GSM networks in order to provide high speed mobile data to their subscribers. The ever increasing growth rate of data applications such as e-mail and the internet is confronting mobile network operators worldwide with the challenge to upgrade their networks to high bandwidth capable "bit pipes" in order to provide for all kinds of mobile data applications. High speed mobile data will combine two of today's most rapidly growing technologies, mobility and the internet.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution) and HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data) have been designed primarily as upgrades to the well known and widely used GSM standard. In the 1980s and early 1990s, when the GSM system was designed and standardized, data transmission capabilities were of minor importance compared to voice. Besides, at that time, the maximum transmission speed of 9.6 kbit/s that GSM offered, appeared to be sufficient and was comparable with analog wireline modems.
Starting with HSCSD, the first high speed mobile data upgrade to be standardized, higher rates of transmission can be provided to mobile customers. EDGE has a transmission speed of up to 384 kbit/s and GPRS is able to support up to 160 kbit/s.