New York Times reports VoiceStream to purchase MobileStar's assets: a report in Monday's paper states that VoiceStream has signed a letter of intent to purchase MobileStar's assets, as well as provide a few million in funding to cover the gap until such a transfer can take place. The article further states that MobileStar will file for bankruptcy as part of the arrangement, which would allow another party to step in, if a court approved it, with its own bid.
VoiceStream uses the GSM standard for cellular phone service, which is most commonly found outside the U.S. Developments in the last three weeks indicate a quick about-face and continuation of plans by several U.S.-based cellular telephone companies, which could lead to a much deeper deployment of GSM as quickly as within one year.
GSM-based equipment can be cheaper than other digital and PCS standards currently in use in the U.S. because the equipment is made for a larger audience worldwide, including Asia. Further, it can allow a single phone to be used for worldwide roaming by multiple carriers or by a single carrier with worldwide roaming agreements.
From the data perspective, the deployment of GSM should also speed the creation of seamless networks that allow connected devices to work at speeds ranging from slow modems (9600 bps or higher) in large swaths of the country up to 802.11b networking in hot spots and covered areas.
Nokia, for instance, has an 802.11b card that uses the SIM card that provides authentication for GSM-based phones. A future card from Nokia could combine cell frequences and 802.11b with SIM authentication.
VoiceStream's consummation of this purchase will mark the beginning of the next age of ubiquitous wireless data communication long before 3G (third-generation cellular) is anywhere near a reality. The next steps should involve closer partnerships between other national and non-U.S. wireless ISPs and cell telephone companies.