The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, UMTS, will take the personal communications user into the Information Society of the 21st century. It will deliver advanced information directly to people and provide them with access to new and innovative services.
The fundamental difference between GPRS and UMTS resides in the support of high bit rate bearer services with the notion of negotiated traffic and QoS characteristics. This shall allow UMTS to support single- and multi-media N-ISDN applications and single- and multimedia IP applications. In the final stage UMTS supports packet switched data service capabilities of at least 2 Mbps peak bit rate per user in urban areas and 384 kbps in wider areas along with Point-to-Multipoint communication. Moreover, the core network allows one mobile terminal to handle more than one bearer service simultaneously and to have bearer services of different connection modes. It is nevertheless expected that the terminal and network capabilities will put some limitations on the number of bearer services that can be handled simultaneously. Each connection has independent traffic and performance characteristics in the sense of throughput, delay and packet loss. The core network is IP based while the network between SGSN and RNC is ATM based. Standardization will have been finished in fall 1999 and the first releases are expected on the marked by summer 2000. Licensing is under progress and Japan might be the first country ready to introduce UMTS.