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What Is UMTS?

The term “UMTS” is the abbreviated form for “Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.” This is a type of mobile phone technology, often classified as “third-generation” (or “3G” for short). Aside from “typical” phone features such as calls and voice mails, most 3G gadgets also allow users to send and receive text messages; create, view and share videos; and access the internet. In some ways, 3G technology allows people to use their cell phones the way they would use their home computers—while fitting neatly in their bags or even their suit pockets.

UMTS combines the technology of wireless and satellite cellular systems, and offers users a very crucial benefit in the age of the Information Superhighway: speed. This technology can transfer broadband data at an astounding 2 Mbits per second. That means, people not only get to call a co-worker, they can arrange a video-conference. Some even use their cellphones like portable mini-DVD, watching downloaded movies.

Japan was the first country to use UMTS in 2001. Within the next 2 years, the technology spread to Austria and a few other countries in Europe. A decade later, UMTS is used everywhere from Africa to the United States, in over 120 countries around the globe.

The only problem is that UMTS and its “rival” system GSM are actually incompatible, and most cell phones are “locked” into a particular system. Currently, GSM is considered to be the industry standard, even if UMTS can operate at a higher frequency. However, many believe that UMTS will eventually surpass GSM.

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