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Industry News

Commercial Market

November 1, 1999
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Commercial Market

Hertz to Install 50,000 GPS Systems

Navigation Solutions LLC, a joint venture formed by Orbital Sciences Corp. and The Hertz Corp., is now delivering and installing 50,000 Global Positioning System (GPS) car navigation systems for the Hertz NeverLost® rental car service. Navigation Solutions will purchase 50,000 navigation systems from Orbital's Magellan Corp. subsidiary for installation and maintenance in Hertz rental cars in more than 50 cities in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. The equipment, designated the 750NAV, provides detailed, turn-by-turn driving directions and voice prompts in seven languages (English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish). The deployment of the satellite-based navigation systems in the Hertz fleet is reportedly the largest in-car system installation in automotive history. Installation of the new units in the US and Canada is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Deployment in Europe, which will provide coverage in major cities in France, Germany and the UK, is expected to be completed in early 2000. Following completion of the European installations, deployment will begin in Australia.

In related news, Magellan is also actively pursuing other opportunities for automotive application of its 750NAV system. MagnaWorks,™ a joint venture formed by Magellan and Magna International Inc., will design and integrate custom vehicle navigation and information systems for passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturers in North America and Europe. Magellan is also examining opportunities with high volume retail automotive distributors and other outlets to offer its systems to car owners as an after-market option.

Bell Atlantic Wireless Subscribers Surpass 10 Million Mark

Driven by a strong demand from both the domestic and international sectors, Bell Atlantic's Wireless Group has surpassed the 10 million customer milestone with domestic customers totaling more than seven million and international subscribers totaling more than three million. Widespread deployment of new high quality digital wireless networks and lower service pricing are believed to be the major contributors to the 36 percent annual customer growth. Bell Atlantic's Wireless Group will continue to expand its coverage throughout the US with plans to acquire Frontier Corp.'s upstate New York business, adding more than 400,000 customers. The Wireless Group also intends to increase its ownership of Westlake, TX-based PrimeCo Personal Communications partnership operations to 100 percent in five metropolitan trading areas: Richmond, VA; New Orleans, LA; and the Florida markets of Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami. In addition, the scheduled merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE will create the largest wireless customer base in the US with more than 14 million subscribers. Internationally, Omnitel Pronto Italia, Italy's first private GSM operator, added 1.7 million subscribers in the first half of 1999, breaking the eight million customer threshold. Mexico's Grupo Iusacell recorded a 73 percent gain over the last 12 months; Bell Atlantic's Greek affiliate, Stet Hellas Telecommunications SA, reported an 84 percent growth for the same period.

Motorola Introduces Smallest GPS Receiver

Motorola Inc.'s GPS Products business has introduced the M12 Oncore™ GPS receiver, the smallest Oncore GPS receiver to date. Ready for software and systems integration, the receiver measures 40 mm x 60 mm x 10 mm, employs a 32-bit reduced instruction set computing microcontroller and is designed for quick implementation into several GPS applications such as in-vehicle telematics systems and precision timing for telecommunications infrastructure. The receiver offers a fast time-to-first-fix, subsecond signal reacquisition, enhanced urban canyon and foliage performance, and simultaneous 12-satellite tracking. The M12 Oncore also supports inverse differential GPS for improved positioning at central base stations, a feature required for turn-by-turn navigation, in-vehicle tracking and other telematics applications. In addition, it provides an RTCM differential GPS input, NMEA 0183 output, two communications ports, a user-controlled velocity filter and an antenna sensing circuit.

Ericsson to Build $200 M Wireless Telephone Network

VeloCom Inc.'s Brazilian consortium, Canbra Telefónica, has awarded a five-year contract to Ericsson Inc. to supply wireless telephony products in Brazil. According to the terms of the estimated $200 M contract, Ericsson will supply 1.6 GHz CDMA infrastructure equipment as well as base station equipment and cell site materials to Canbra for a new telephone system to serve customers in Rio de Janeiro and 15 other cities in northern Brazil. (The planned network will be the largest wireless local loop deployment in Latin America.) Telephone service will be implemented in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Bahia by the end of this year, followed by deployment in the 13 other states in Canbra's region.

Steady Growth Forecast for WLANs through 2002

Allied Business Intelligence Inc.'s recent report, "Wireless LANs: Networking for the Next Millennium, US & World Markets, Technologies & Forecasts," predicts the world market growth of wireless local area network (WLAN) equipment through 2002. The US represented approximately 60 percent of WLAN business worldwide in 1997. Total offshore revenue in 1997 was between $200 M and $225 M and is expected to increase to $322 M by 2002, an average annual gain of 10 percent. The US market for WLAN adapter shipments is forecast to grow 31 percent annually through 2002 while WLAN access points are expected to grow by 28 percent during the same period. Sales revenues are expected to increase eight and six percent, respectively. The report indicates that WLANs are no longer considered merely replacements for wired networks but are becoming the technology of choice in some applications previously serviced exclusively by wired networks. Vertical integration of WLAN capability is expected to be the primary market driver behind WLAN growth. The report notes, however, that the cost of hardware is impeding the growth of WLANs since interface cards and adapters for wired systems cost a fraction of those providing a wireless connection. For more information, contact Tim Archdeacon at Allied Business Intelligence (516) 624-3113 or e-mail: info@alliedworld.com.

GSM/PCS Services 200 Million Subscribers

The GSM Association has reported that there are now more than 200 million GSM and PCS users worldwide. Known as GSM in its 900 and 1800 MHz variants outside of North America, the system is also known as PCS in its 1900 MHz variant in the US and Canada. With a reported four new customers entering the market every second, GSM growth has exceeded most of the industry's predictions. The ongoing need for people to communicate and access information quickly in addition to the free first minute of incoming calls to mobile phone users are believed to be the main drivers behind GSM growth. The Asia-Pacific region continues to expand exponentially while China maintains its position as the world's largest GSM market. Europe and North America are also experiencing dramatic expansion in available GSM value-added services such as data and text applications.

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