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Industry News

Commercial Market

May 1, 2000
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Commercial Market

Hong Kong Telecommunications Market Opens Up
The Hong Kong government has opened up its telecommunications market by granting fixed network licenses to five companies and the right to operate international satellite services to 12 other applicants. PSINet HK Ltd., HKNet-Teligent Company Ltd., HK Broadband Network Ltd., Eastar Technology Ltd. and SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. will operate wireless networks and deliver telecommunictions services to homes and businesses. The five companies are expected to invest 2.8 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$358 M) over the next three years. Companies with international communications licenses include the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Teleglobe, the only North American data and voice carrier licensed for that service. The 12 licensees for international services have pledged to invest a total of 770 million Hong Kong dollars (US$98.7 M) during the next three years. They will also be the first competition in the area for Cable and Wireless HKT Ltd., the previous holder of the monopoly for international telecommunications services in Hong Kong.

Cellular Telephone RF Semiconductor Market to Approach $8 B in 2004
A recent report from Strategies Unlimited, “RF Semiconductors for Cellular/PCS Handsets, Market Review and Forecast 2000,” forecasts that the worldwide market for RF semiconductor devices in cellular telephones will grow from $3.9 B in 1999 to $7.7 B in 2004. The report bases the prediction on its examination of the semiconductor technology and trends behind the evolution toward third-generation (3G) cellular chipsets as well as its projections of the worldwide demand for handsets through 2004.

A strong global demand for mobile communications is expected to lead to a subscriber base of 1.3 billion by 2004, and annual handset demand is projected to grow from 240 million in 1999 to 600 million in 2004. New services such as instant messaging, wireless data and Internet access are also expected to contribute to strong growth over the next five years. GSM handsets are the largest market for RF semiconductors and accounted for $2 B of device shipments in 1999. CDMA, IS-136 TDMA, PDC and analog chipsets together accounted for the balance of $1.9 B in 1999. According to the report, silicon bipolar technology devices account for the majority of RF chips in the handset market. Gallium arsenide (GaAs) chips composed 33 percent of the 1999 market and heterojunction bipolar transistor chip sales showed strong growth during the same year. Increased integration of RF and IF circuits during the next five years is expected to significantly reduce the number of chips per handset, and CMOS, BiCMOS and silicon germanium will play major roles in that transition. GaAs ICs are forecast to continue their lead in power amplifier and switch sockets. Beginning in 2000, Bluetooth data links and GPS receivers for location-based services are expected to create a chip market that will reach $500 M in 2004. For additional information, contact Strategies Unlimited (650) 941-3438, fax (650) 941-5120 or e-mail: info@strategies-u.com.

Partnership to Concentrate on Wireless Communications Interfaces
Tokyo-based Taiyo Yuden Co. Ltd. and SyberSay Communications Corp. of Sunnyvale, CA have announced a strategic partnership to capitalize on the commercial development of next-generation wireless communications interfaces that will allow users to perform comfortable, hands-free operation of cell phones, PDAs, PCs and other products using proprietary voice-recognition software. The first product of the partnership, a miniature wireless transceiver using Bluetooth short-range radio transmission technology, will be marketed this year under the SkyPodª brand name. The arrangement includes joint marketing and distribution channels for SyberSay products in Japan, and Taiyo Yuden will allocate resources for the design and development of miniaturized high performance electronic hardware modules incorporating Bluetooth technology for SyberSay’s new line of wireless personal interfaces.

SyberPod will initially consist of a small combination earpiece/microphone that can transmit and receive voice instructions from a pager-sized belt-clip control unit for hands-free operation of any compatible voice-enabled device within 40 feet. A second-generation SyberPod, due in 2001, will eliminate the belt-clip base unit by incorporating a miniaturized control unit in the earpiece itself.

Hughes ICO Global Communications Satellites Employ Active Phased-array Antennas
A series of modified Hughes Space and Communications Co. HS 601 spacecraft incorporating active phased-array antennas will form the 12-satellite medium earth orbit ICO Global Communications constellation. The spacecraft are approximately 25 percent taller than earlier HS 601s to accommodate innovative transmit and receive antennas. The multiple beams from the multiple S-band arrays in space will provide full earth coverage. The active arrays, controlled by digital beamforming processors, match beam configurations to fluctuating usage patterns and make the most efficient use of available bandwidth. Each of the processors has the computing power of more than 600 Pentium III-based computers. In addition to accommodating the antenna array, the modified spacecraft have extended thermal heat radiators to handle the high power electronics and two dual-junction GaAs solar cell wings that provide nearly 9 kW of end-of-life power. The satellites have an expected life span of 12 years.

Fiber-optic Isolator Market to Exceed $850 M in 2009
Arecent report from ElectroniCast Corp., “Fiber-optic Isolator Global Market Forecast,” predicts a growth in the worldwide demand for fiber-optic isolators from $274.5 M in 1999 to $869.5 M in 2009. North America, which accounted for 45 percent of consumption in 1999, is expected to see its share rise to 53 percent by 2009. Telecommunications applications are forecast to account for a rather constant share of the worldwide total during the 10-year period with their 60 percent in 1999 dropping slightly to 58 percent in 2009. The Specialty application share is forecast to increase to 16 percent in 2009 from its 12 percent 1999 share. Other Market Segments, Military/Aerospace, Cable TV and Premises Data Networks are expected to account for approximately the same portion of the overall market in 2009 as they do currently. For additional information, contact ElectroniCast (650) 343-1398, fax (650) 343-1698 or e-mail: electronicast@msn.com.

Radar-based Adaptive Automotive Cruise Control Demonstrated
TRW recently demonstrated an adaptive automotive cruise control system employing a 77 GHz forward-looking radar. The radar is the product of Autocruise, a TRW and Thomson-CSF joint venture formed to develop, manufacture and sell the system for adaptive cruise control systems. Production is expected to begin later this year. The new radar may be located behind the front grille or bumper and has a forward-looking range of up to 150 meters. The system operates at speeds from 30 to 180 kph and uses the standard cruise control switches and an enhanced display to show the vehicle ahead. The system will maintain an appropriate headway between vehicles; maximum brake force, when needed, is 30 percent and, when the road ahead is clear, the vehicle is accelerated to the original set speed.

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