BT does first live GPRS call

GPRS over a live GSM network? Been there, done that. BT claims a first...

The world's first live GPRS data transfer call over a live GSM network was claimed by BT CellNet this week.

The call took place at CellNet's UK labs Tuesday and marks the move from lab-based testing of BT's GPRS services -- started February -- to a full commercial showcase field trial, due January. The showcase will involve a rollout of the service to around 6 of BT's corporate customers. During the trial BT will carry out tests on the network, radio equipment and GPRS-compatible handsets.

As well as claiming a first with the call BT also received the UK's first GPRS-compatible handsets. Manufactured by Motorola, the sets can handle both GPRS packet switched protocols and traditional GSM circuit switched protocols.

A spokesman said that BT would "definitely" deliver a full commercial rollout of GPRS over its entire GSM network by the middle of next year.

GPRS operates by overlaying a packet based air interface over an exiting GSM network. It offers theoretical data speeds of 171.2kbit/s and gives on always on connection to the Internet.