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Industry News

The Commercial Market

February 1, 2000
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The Commercial Market

Virtual Classroom System to be Installed Nationwide
Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. has selected Arel Communications and Software Ltd. to install an interactive distance learning system in the existing Busch Satellite Network. Arel’s Interactive Distance Education and Learning (IDEAL) system will provide real-time, two-way interactive training programs for Anheuser-Busch corporate employees and independent US wholesalers. The IDEAL system will enable instructors to broadcast, control and conduct real-time interactive sessions from a central location with participants in remote areas. The virtual classroom will allow participants to actively take part in a live session simply by inputting keystrokes via personal interaction devices, and everyone on the network will hear both the question and the response. The system has the ability to compile and save training results in a database for immediate display to the participants and the instructor. Value-added reseller EchoStar Communications Corp. will deliver, install and support the IDEAL system to hundreds of Anheuser-Busch independent wholesalers. In addition, Anheuser-Busch has an option to order additional classrooms.

World’s Largest Communications Satellite Launched
On December 21, 1999, Hughes Space and Communications Co. (HSC) launched Galaxy XI, the company’s first HS 702 series satellite. Built for PanAmSat Corp., Galaxy XI, with a total of 64 transponders and end-of-life power exceeding 10 kW, is reportedly the largest communications satellite ever deployed into space. Once fully deployed, the HS 702 will enable PanAmSat to deliver state-of-the-art satellite services to video, Internet and telecommunications customers throughout North America.

To achieve higher power and longer life, the satellite’s solar array carries angled reflector panels along both sides of the solar wings, forming a shallow trough that concentrates the sun’s rays onto the solar cells. The dual-junction cells convert nearly one-quarter of the rays’ energy into spacecraft power. The increased heat generated by the HS 702 is controlled by separating the bus and payload thermal environments and substantially enlarging deployable heat radiators that employ flexible heat pipes. From an orbital position of 99° west longitude, the satellite will provide video distribution, telephony and data services to North America and Brazil, ultimately migrating to 91° west. Galaxy XI is the first of seven new satellites that Hughes will manufacture for PanAmSat. The remaining six spacecraft are scheduled for deployment by the middle of 2001. Galaxy XI is expected to carry 40 Ku-band and 24 C-band transponders to provide more than 15 years of service.

GPRS Trials Evaluate High Speed Wireless Data Technology
GSM service provider Omnipoint Communications, a subsidiary of Omnipoint Corp., has initiated the first US trials of high speed wireless data technology using Ericsson’s General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) solution. The technology will allow Omnipoint to offer wireless access to the Internet and a range of other Internet Protocol-based services at speeds up to 115 kbps -- up to 12-times faster than current Omnipoint system data rates. Ericsson’s GPRS solution introduces packet data to mobile networks, fully enabling mobile Internet applications and other advanced data communications services. GPRS is installed at Omnipoint facilities in Wayne, NJ and is currently undergoing extensive testing, including integration in equipment from other suppliers.

Omnipoint and Ericsson signed the first US GPRS contract in January 1999, and Ericsson currently is delivering GPRS equipment to more than 45 wireless communications service providers for field trials in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Omnipoint intends to follow the pre-commercial trials with an offering of commercial services this year. In addition, the two companies are working to develop the market for non-voice applications, including the deployment of the Bluetooth and Wireless Application Protocol technologies.

Lucent Technologies to Supply PCS Network in Buenos Aires
Lucent Technologies has been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract by GTE Corp. to provide a wireless PCS network based on CDMA technology for GTE’s Argentine subsidiary, GTE PCS SA, in Buenos Aires. According to the terms of the agreement, Lucent will provide Mobile Switching Centers based on the 5ESS® Switch platform, PCS Minicells, and the GALAXY Power System 4848 and Unigy® II batteries. In addition, a Wireless Intelligent Network platform that will allow GTE to offer value-added services, such as Over-the-air Service Activation, a Short Message Service Center (with TeleCommunication Systems), a Standalone Home Location Register and a Wireless Virtual Private Network, is expected to be installed.

GTE was awarded one of two 40 MHz PCS wireless telephone licenses for Buenos Aries in June 1999, complementing its existing wireless licenses in the interior regions of Argentina and expanding its subsidiaries’ coverage to the entire country. CTI Movil, one of GTE’s subsidiaries, was the first to implement CDMA technology in Argentina. The network expansion solidifies GTE’s role as the sole provider of wireless CDMA technology in cellular and PCS applications.

BellSouth to Expand Internet Access to Rural Areas
BellSouth Corp. has announced plans to test high speed wireless Internet access by residents in Houma, LA to more accurately assess the technical and financial feasibility of providing rural customers with affordable high speed Internet wireless connections. Since rural areas typically do not have access to high speed connection mediums due to the cost of installing the necessary infrastructure, the trials are expected to identify cost-effective ways to reach even the most isolated areas and ultimately deliver high speed, high quality Internet service to rural customers. Trial participants will be given a special modem and wireless receiver for downloading information at speeds up to 1.5 Mbps, and standard dial-up connections will be used to establish links to BellSouth’s Internet access service. BellSouth intends to conduct the trial over the Wireless Communications Service spectrum, which was purchased at auction from the Federal Communications Commission. During the trial, ADC Telecommunications will provide its Cellspan broadband wireless equipment as well as integration and operations support to BellSouth. Trials are expected to begin this year.

Study Finds Power Cellular Users Critical to Success of Wireless Industry
Strategy Analytics Inc. has released a study, “Opportunities and Challenges for Power Users,” which provides profiles of lucrative end users and insight into their wireless usage, ownership, purchasing patterns and interest in enhanced cellular service. The study indicates that power cellular users are typically male business professionals 25 to 34 years old; use cellular phones for more than two hours per week on average; and most frequently seek links to home security systems, directions and access to personalized information such as bank accounts. Power users already have started to substitute landline telephone calls in the home and office. According to the study, more than 40 percent of power users’ calls are made from fixed rather than mobile locations. Other findings of the study indicate that power cellular users exhibit the highest level of interest in early adoption of advanced handset and service features, are less sensitive to handset prices than average wireless users and are more concerned about brand and quality than the average customer. For additional information, contact David Kerr, Strategy Analytics (617) 738-1300 or visit www.strategyanalytics.com.

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