EDGE (also known as Enhanced GPRS or EGPRS) is a data system used on top of GSM networks. It provides nearly three times faster speeds than the outdated GPRS system. The theoretical maximum speed is 473 kbps for 8 timeslots but it is typically limited to 135 kbps in order to conserve spectrum resources. Both phone and network must support EDGE, otherwise the phone will revert automatically to GPRS.
EDGE meets the requirements for a 3G network but is usually classified as 2.75G.
EDGE is standardized also by 3GPP as part of the GSM family. A variant, so called Compact-EDGE, was developed for use in a portion of Digital AMPS network spectrum.
EDGE can be used for any packet switched application, such as an Internet connection.
Evolved EDGE continues in Release 7 of the 3GPP standard providing reduced latency and more than doubled performance e.g. to complement High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA). Peak bit-rates of up to 1 Mbit/s and typical bit-rates of 400 kbit/s can be expected.
EDGE/EGPRS is implemented as a bolt-on enhancement for 2.5G GSM/GPRS networks, making it easier for existing GSM carriers to upgrade to it. EDGE is a superset to GPRS and can function on any network with GPRS deployed on it, provided the carrier implements the necessary upgrade. EDGE requires no hardware or software changes to be made in GSM core networks. EDGE-compatible transceiver units must be installed and the base station subsystem needs to be upgraded to support EDGE. If the operator already has this in place, which is often the case today, the network can be upgraded to EDGE by activating an optional software feature. Today EDGE is supported by all major chip vendors for both GSM and WCDMA/HSPA.