The FCC today announced it has certified Vanu’s Software Radio GSM Base Station as the first commission-approved software radio.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell called the certification “the first step in what may prove to be a radio technology revolution.”

Software radios are seen as more spectrally efficient and less likely to cause interference than traditional land mobile radios because they are capable of changing the frequency range, modulation type or output power of a radio device without making changes to hardware components.

The FCC said the Vanu base station not only complies with commission rules but also has sufficient controls to prevent it from being modified to operate outside commission-approved parameters.

According to Vanu, the base station was part of a trial deployment begun by Texas-based rural wireless carrier Mid-Tex Cellular in June 2003 to test the commercial viability of a software-based GSM/GPRS network. Phased installation of a Vanu-built software radio-based network has begun, with the complete rollout of a 20-site system scheduled for completion by the end of 2004, the company said. -Glenn Bischoff