Designing for GSM, GPRS, EDGE or similar technologies requires project feasibility studies for each individual solution.
The following table gives rough estimates for the performance and operational costs (on May 16, 2006; excluding subscription fees) that may be expected from GSM-solutions (in South Africa; prices are in South African Rands; USD1 = ZAR6.9).
|network type||GSM||2.5G||2.75G||WCDMA, 3G|
|max download speed (subject to network implementation), kbps||57.6||14.4||57.6||85.6||236.8||384||1800|
|actual speed observed under real-world conditions, kbps||40||9.6||30||20||90||120||400|
|actual speed, kB/s||5||1.2||3.75||2.5||11.25||15||50|
|actual time to download 1 MB, sec||205||853||273||410||91||68||20|
|actual time to download 1 MB, mm:ss||03:25||14:13||04:33||06:50||01:31||01:08||00:20|
|peak-time price per minute, ZAR||1.25||1.25||1.25|
|peak-time price per MB, ZAR (effective values for PSTN, CSD and HSCSD)||4.27||17.78||5.69||0.20||0.20||0.20||0.20|
This shows that applications requiring download of information to a mobile station (whether it is a cell phone providing mobile Internet, a navigation system with map updates, or a mobile entertainment solution) already benefit greatly from these technologies. Download speeds with WCDMA are approaching those of broadband Internet (at least, in South Africa).
The telemetry applications usually place higher priority on upload traffic and will benefit from the upcoming HSUPA.
These abbreviations have been used:
PSTN - Public Switched Telephone Network
GSM - Global System for Mobile Communications
CSD - Circuit Switched Data
HSCSD - High Speed Circuit Switched Data
GPRS - General Packet Radio Service
EDGE - Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (formerly Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution). It is also referred to as E-GPRS (Enhanced GPRS) or GPRS+
W-CDMA - Wide-band Code Division Multiple Access
UMTS - Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
HSDPA - High Speed Downlink Packet Access
HSUPA - High Speed Uplink Packet Access