Universal Mobile Telecommunications System

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Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is one of the third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications technologies, which is also being developed into a 4G technology. The first deployment of the UMTS is the release99 (R99) architecture. It is specified by 3GPP and is part of the global ITU IMT-2000 standard. The most common form of UMTS uses W-CDMA (IMT Direct Spread) as the underlying air interface but the system also covers TD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA (both IMT CDMA TDD). Being a complete network system, UMTS also covers the radio access network (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network, or UTRAN) and the core network (Mobile Application Part, or MAP), as well as authentication of users via SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Module).

Unlike EDGE (IMT Single-Carrier, based on GSM) and CDMA2000 (IMT Multi-Carrier), UMTS requires new base stations and new frequency allocations. However, it is closely related to GSM/EDGE as it borrows and builds upon concepts from GSM. Further, most UMTS handsets also support GSM, allowing seamless dual-mode operation. Therefore, UMTS is sometimes marketed as 3GSM, emphasizing the close relationship with GSM and differentiating it from competing technologies.

The name UMTS, introduced by ETSI, is usually used in Europe. Outside of Europe, the system is also known by other names such as FOMA[1] or W-CDMA.[nb 1][1] In marketing, it is often referred to as 3G or 3G+.


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