Commercial Market

Live In-flight Television Available to Corporate Jet Passengers

Airshow TV, a product of Airshow Inc., has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to provide television programming via satellite to in-flight private jet aircraft. Digital television entertainment service provider DIRECTV® has signed an agreement with Airshow to supply the programming, which will include live broadcasts of CNN, Bloomberg Television, ESPN, Classic Sports Network by ESPN, The Discovery Channel and The Weather Channel. Airshow TV operates across the continental US and currently is expanding its service to include Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Wireless Base Station Study Forecasts Component Demand and Technology Prospects

Allied Business Intelligence forecasts the demand for wireless infrastructure components and the prospects for a variety of wireless system technologies, including code-division multiple access (CDMA), time-division multiple access (TDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), during the next five years in its recent report entitled "Wireless Base Stations: The Winner Is?" The report points out that new forecasts for subscriber and wireless infrastructure growth have been increased significantly because of the liberalization of foreign markets and the relative containment of the Asian fiscal crisis.

Wireless infrastructure component sales are not expected to grow as rapidly as the infrastructure itself because of the integration of discrete components and the move toward more powerful digital signal processors (DSP) that can handle up to six conversations per chip. There will be a moderate market of close to three million DSPs for wireless infrastructure by 2002 and an aggressive overall market of five million DSPs during the same period.

GSM and CDMA systems are expected to dominate network build-outs worldwide because their digital environments have larger capacities than analog systems, they are more easily protected against service and data theft and they have small-scale data capabilities. While GSM may have some advantages in mature markets seeking advanced services, CDMA is more likely to be used in the many developing areas where telephone service currently is not available. Among other features, its wider use of ICs and more powerful DSPs make CDMA’s base stations smaller and less obtrusive. TDMA will rely on its adoption for AT&T’s national US network for a strong showing in North America during the next few years.

Emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and other locations are expected to install a mixture of CDMA and GSM systems. CDMA will be used heavily in wireless local loop (WLL) applications to provide basic telephone service in unwired areas. GSM and very small aperture satellite technology are expected to provide fixed, shared telephone service in the poorest regions. Metropolitan areas are likely to favor GSM because of their emphasis on mobile service. CDMA is expected to serve Asia-Pacific installations. For more information, contact Allied Business Intelligence at (516) 624-3113.

SnapTrackTM Offers Cellular-aided GPS Technology

SnapTrack Inc. has developed a system for locating portable wireless devices that combines the use of GPS technology with the nationwide wireless telecommunications infrastructure. The company’s handset-based, cellular-aided GPS technology will enable carriers to comply with the impending federal mandate for E-911 service, which requires wireless carriers to provide public safety answering points with the location of 911 callers with an accuracy of 125 m at least 67 percent of the time beginning October 1, 2001. SnapTrack system tests have demonstrated accuracies of 5 to 75 m and the ability to operate inside buildings or cars (usually difficult locations for conventional GPS receivers). In addition, the system protects user privacy with its Location On DemandTM feature and offers a range of value-added services, including roadside assistance, traffic information and driving directions.

A SnapTrack-enabled handset operates in conjunction with a server that assists in the location calculation, and the two elements share position information via the wireless network. Since the calculation tasks are shared, the system does not require extensive bandwidth. Its technology is air-interface independent and it will operate with 900 or 1900 MHz systems in CDMA, TDMA, GSM and analog environments. Cost of the units is expected to range from $5 to $10 in volume.

1997 Wireless Industry Growth Sets New Record

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association’s (CTIA) latest semi-annual data survey, there were 55,312,293 wireless telephone subscribers in the US as of December 31, 1997. That figure represents a net growth of 11,270,301 subscribers during the previous 12-month period –– a new record.

The survey also notes that annual revenues in 1997 reached $27.5 B, an increase of 16.3 percent; the number of carrier company employees increased 30 percent to 109,387; cumulative capital investment in equipment and infrastructure rose 41 percent to $46.1 B; and the average monthly customer bill fell $4.92 to $42.78. For additional information, contact Jimmy Vaughan at the CTIA Research Department (202) 736-3214.

New Civilian Signals to be Added to GPS

Two new civilian signals are scheduled to be added to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) in an effort to improve navigation, positioning and timing services to a variety of users worldwide. The announcement fulfills a pledge made by the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation to agree on a second civil frequency. The decision was made by the Interagency GPS Executive Board, which was created in 1996 to manage GPS and its US government augmentations. The most immediate benefit of the additional signals is expected to be in public safety applications, particularly international aviation, land transportation and maritime uses.

Several important details of the new signal system still must be developed, including signal structure, protection against interference from other sources, and cost and cost sharing. Consultation with the user community, Congress and international user interests (such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and other governments committed to the use of GPS) will precede the final resolution of all the open questions. In addition, the new signal capability must be built into the next generation of GPS satellites. The US is committed to making the new signals available by 2005.

QUALCOMM to Conduct CDMA WLL Test in China

QUALCOMM Inc. has announced an agreement with the Beijing Telecommunication Administration (BTA) to conduct a cdmaOne™ (IS-95 CDMA) WLL trial in China. Under the terms of the agreement, QUALCOMM will supply infrastructure equipment, subscriber terminals and deployment services for the 1900 MHz CDMA WLL trial to be conducted in the Wukesong area of Beijing. The trial system has been deployed already and is operational. The agreement specifies that the BTA will purchase the system upon successful completion of the acceptance test plan.