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Industry News

The Commercial Market

October 1, 1998
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The Commercial Market

US Cellular Subscribers to Generate 500 Billion Minutes of Use

A new study published by Strategy Analytics within its Mobile Communications Service - North America information service forecasts that wireless usage minutes will grow at a compound annual rate of 35 percent between 1998 and 2003 and exceed 500 billion minutes in 2003 to capture nine percent of the total telecommunications traffic in the US. The study predicts that significant increases in personal communications service (PCS) and cellular service usage will fuel the growth. The total subscriber count (of which consumers will account for 85 percent) is expected to reach 126 million and represent a 44 percent market penetration by 2003. Digital network subscribers are forecast to grow from their base of less than seven million at the end of 1997 to 124 million by 2003. Code-division multiple access (CDMA) is forecast to overtake time-division multiple access (TDMA) in 2000 and capture 65 million subscribers compared to 52 million TDMA users in 2003.

Evaluating the effect of features that may act as incentives for new subscribers, the study finds that offerings such as short messaging services and other value-added features generate negligible interest. However, single number and single service possibilities appear to be a popular incentive. Forty percent of current cellular customers report definite interest in a single personal telephone number and half of all present subscribers are interested in a single provider for wireless, local and long-distance services. The data reveal that two-thirds of local exchange carrier customers with household incomes at or above $100 K also indicate strong interest in a single service provider. For additional information, contact Strategy Analytics at (617) 438-1300, fax (617) 244-9488.

Report Analyzes Worldwide Wireless Base Station Market

Allied Business Intelligence strategically analyzes the worldwide wireless base station market for CDMA, Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), TDMA and Advanced Mobile Phone Service equipment in its recent report: "Wireless Base Stations: The Winner Is?" The study forecasts unprecedented growth for PCS infrastructure and component providers although component sales growth is not expected to keep pace with infrastructure growth as components are integrated and digital signal processors become more powerful and are able to handle up to six conversations per chip.

While field-programmable gate arrays will become a more important component in the next buildout phase because they permit new features to be written into a system easily, the study concludes that their high cost will permit the dedicated IC to remain a dominant element of the equipment through 2002. The study also forecasts that GSM and CDMA systems will dominate throughout the buildout of digital systems. The inclusion of GSM by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in its third-generation recommendations to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is expected to encourage carriers to choose GSM instead of CDMA for mobile systems. However, many opportunities will still exist for CDMA in applications providing telephone and mobile services. TDMA is expected to dominate the North American market because of AT&T's national TDMA network.

Emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region are likely to see mixtures of GSM and CDMA installations with GSM providing mobile service and CDMA providing wireless local loops for telephone service. Poorer regions are expected to be served by GSM systems and shared very small aperture terminal satellite technology for fixed telephone services. For additional information, contact Allied Business Intelligence at (516) 624-3113, fax (516) 624-3115.

National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed Organization Completed

The participants of the newly developed National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed (N-WEST) have determined that the group will focus on broadband wireless access (BWA) including terrestrial, satellite and space systems but excluding unlicensed and mobile applications. N-WEST, a project of the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, is a measurements and standards resource for the broadband wireless communications industry whose mission is to promote the development of the industry by creating and carrying out tests and measurements and by promoting sound operational standards based on open technical results. The group has also reached a consensus that standardization efforts may apply to more than one type of BWA system in more than one frequency band and that economies of scale favor adoption of common standards whenever practical.

The participants have greed that standardization of inexpensive customer premises equipment, including an indoor/outdoor unit interface and bandplan, is a high priority task. In addition, working groups are to be formed to evaluate current standards and options for formally associating industry efforts with those of N-WEST, enumerate BWA applications, prioritize issues requiring standardization and develop and evaluate bandplan proposals. For additional information, contact Roger B. Marks, N-WEST, NIST at (303) 497-3037, fax (303) 497-7828 or e-mail: marks@nist.gov.

Satellite Tracking Systems/Antenna to Serve Mobile Platform DBS Customers

FutureTrak International Inc. has introduced a family of satellite tracking systems and a flat-panel satellite antenna for direct broadcast satellite (DBS) applications. The Space Scanner™ tracking system allows small boat and recreational vehicle owners to receive DBS signals when the boats are docked (or at anchor) and vehicles are parked. The unit has the capacity to handle antenna dishes up to 24" in diameter in winds up to 20 mph. As many as 36 satellite positions can be programmed into the control unit and tracking rates of 10° per second in both azimuth and elevation maintain contact with the chosen satellite. Space Scanner II,™ the newest version of the system, is designed to maintain antenna pointing at a selected satellite while a vehicle or boat is in motion. Currently, Space Scanner is being manufactured by Germany-based Siemens for galaxis USA Ltd. Earlier this year, FutureTrak and galaxis USA signed Lockheed Martin Ocala Operations to manufacture the unit.

FutureTrak's MicroPlanar series flat-panel satellite antenna is designed with microstrip technology and measures 14" ¥ 14" ¥ 2". The unit covers the 12.2 to 12.7 GHz band with a gain of 55 dB (typ) and noise figure of 0.8 dB (typ). Polarization is switchable between circular right hand and circular left hand, cross-polar isolation is 20 dB (min) and half-power beamwidth is less than 4°. For additional information, contact FutureTrak International at (888) 752-3474 or (954) 971-2244.

GE and Lockheed Martin to Supply Asia-Pacific with Advanced Satellite Services

GE American Communications and the newly formed Lockheed Martin Global Communications unit have entered into a joint venture to deploy a new satellite system to serve the Asia-Pacific region. (Each company will own an equal share of the venture.) The GE-1A spacecraft will provide advanced television distribution and wideband Internet services to businesses and consumers in the area.

The spacecraft will carry 28 Ku-band transponders in a geostationary orbit and serve users through antennas as small as 65 cm that will cover the Indian, Northeast Asian, Chinese and Philippine regions. A July 1999 launch into orbit at 97 east longitude is planned.

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