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If Sprint's director of business marketing Tom Shaughnessy had thoughts of defecting to rivals Cingular or T-Mobile, he's going to need a refresher course in the mobile phone industry.

Speaking of AT&T's recent upgrade to EDGE, Shaughnessy declared that "EDGE is just a band aid to get to UMTS. EDGE isn't backwards compatible with GPRS, which isn't backwards compatible with GSM. You need constant upgrades and swapouts". 3G Portal spotted his comments at Internet News.

The phone business is full of confusing acronyms, but almost every part of his statement is incorrect. And we're being generous. The only supportable part is that EDGE is a 'band aid', and that's contentious at best; AT&T Wireless says it will deploy UMTS, or W-CDMA commercially in four cities including Seattle and San Francisco by the end of the year.

The GSM group representing North and South America was quick to correct the Sprint on his other points. EDGE is a new modulation system for GPRS allowing higher speeds, and EDGE phones fall back to GPRS. At the service layer, they're the same thing. Equipment providers including as Nokia have offered EDGE as an in-place upgrade for years. And that thing with the buttons - that's a phone. You hold it up to your ear and start talking. ®

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