The Diminishing Importance of EDGE

I think the last time I was really excited about EDGE, the data transmission technology of GSM, was back in 2010. Back in 2008 there was a lot of activity around Evolved EDGE with it's main feature bundling several carriers to increase single user speeds. Since then it has become pretty quiet.

Back in 2010 I had a brief personal resurgence of interest while having been in Thailand and depending on EDGE for connectivity. Since then, however, 3G and also LTE networks have increased their coverage areas in Europe and the US considerably. That's good as web pages are becoming ever more complex and require tons of data to be downloaded. In addition, cloud services that are becoming ever more popular and require more and more data being shuffled back and forth.

So in retrospect my interest in EDGE has noticeably diminished in the past 4 years up to the point where I wouldn't even consider it as a kind of spare backup. It has become too slow for how I interact with the network today.

I also haven't heard much from Evolved EDGE since back in 2008 so I don't think there's a lot of activity to bring this from paper to practice. Certainly not in countries that already have LTE deployed. So I can but just wonder what the options are in evolving countries with little 3G or LTE coverage yet!? I have no hard facts but I have a feeling that Evolved EDGE is not the way they will take either.

5 thoughts on “The Diminishing Importance of EDGE”

  1. Hi Martin,

    I was thinking the same recently. Whenever I fallback to EDGE coverage my smartphone apps become from frustrating to unusable. I guess EDGE/GPRS might still have some use for legacy handsets and perhaps smart meters etc but not much else..

  2. I love EDGE. BlackBerry’s data compression keeps lower speed connections usable. Especially for email, but browsing, maps, etc still seems acceptable. Sad to hear that BlackBerry 10 doesn’t need to use their dedicated server with its compression. Turns the new z10/Q10 into a data hungry monster just like Android and iPhones. Not what you want when you roam to many different countries. I just bought an old model BlackBerry to replace my z10 and I keep it locked to 2G (and therefore mostly EDGE). Call me a luddite, but for me, being connected worldwide without high cost takes priority over flashy graphics.

    I wonder if there’s a market for a generic compression service for data roamers? When you travel with any smartphone you use that as a proxy to feed you with data, you could choose the level of compression maybe strip out high res-graphic for example and trade-off speed with data volume. Maybe there already is such a service?

  3. It really depends on what you’re trying to do – in the UK the 2G networks have much better coverage than the 3G networks. If all you need to do is get a small message of a few hundred bytes quickly to and from a device, 2G is more reliable in my experience – that’s with 3000 odd field based laptop clients . The same usage over 3G is frustrating in the extreme !

  4. btw, I realise Opera Mini allows compression, but I was wondering if there was a product that could be used for any app on one’s smartphone.

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