Orange's HSCSD service is (quietly) here

After launching the service last year, Orange has finally announced a commercial launch of its high-speed circuit switched data...

After launching the service last year, Orange has finally announced a commercial launch of its high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) service, writes Antony Savvas.

Orange has employed two companies - Portable Add-Ons and Hugh Symons - to market the service, which allows users of laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to send data on radio frequencies at 28.8kbps over the Orange GSM network.

The technology was originally showcased late last year at the TMA show in Brighton, but until now, Orange had been quiet about a commercial launch. This was despite promoting HSCSD as Orange's next big idea in the mobile data marketplace when it came to accessing the Internet.

Orange's solution makes remote data communications possible by slotting a PC card equipped with a small GSM antenna sticking out at the side into a port on the side of a laptop computer or PDA.

The HSCSD service's speed rivals that of the first data rates promised with the upcoming General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology, which will allow users to send and receive information from a laptop or PDA with a mobile phone. But with HSCSD you don't need the latter.

BT Cellnet has already launched a GPRS service for business users, but despite a claimed national launch, the coverage is patchy at the moment, with London being left out altogether.

This was last published in July 2000

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