Lucent Technologies Venture to Commercialize Mobile Wireless Data Access Technology

L ucent Technologies announced the creation of Flarion Technologies Inc., Bedminster, NJ, a company that will commercialize a new wireless data access technology called Flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing). The technology features a highly scalable network architecture designed to deliver higher quality service and be more cost-effective than current wireless technologies.

The Flash-OFDM technology is expected to be the only wireless data access solution supporting high data rates at very low latencies (minimized packet and delay losses) over a distributed all-IP wireless network. The high data rates at very low latencies available from Flash-OFDM will provide end users with always-on wireless IP connections that allow real-time interactive and multimedia applications in mobile environments. RadioRouter Flash-OFDM-based networks are expected to offer a substantial cost advantage over third-generation (3G) wireless networks. A RadioRouter prototype is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year and will be followed by a test network deployment in cooperation with a wireless carrier.

Flarion Technologies was launched as an independent and fully operational company during the second quarter of this year. First-round financing for the venture was provided by Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures and Pequot Capital. Lucent Technologies retains a minority ownership position in the company.

AT&T and Nokia to Develop Enhancements to All IP-EDGE Network

A T&T Wireless Services Inc. and Nokia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which they have agreed to jointly develop and test enhancements to the EDGE 3G wireless standard, which will permit simultaneous delivery of voice and data, as well as advanced multimedia applications such as real-time streaming media. The first EDGE networks will provide high speed Internet and e-mail access. The enhancements to be addressed under the MoU are expected to include voice-over IP, audio and video streaming and real-time conversational services such as video conferencing. The companies are working under the emerging 3GPP Release 2000 International Standards to introduce simultaneous transmission of voice (over IP) and Web browsing of e-mail by the first quarter of 2001. EDGE combines two of the world's leading digital wireless standards, time division multiple access (TDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM).

Raytheon to Provide Ground Network Infrastructure for FAISAT Global Wireless Data System

G eneral Dynamics Information Systems has selected Raytheon Co. to provide the total ground network infrastructure for the FAISAT global wireless data system being developed by Final Analysis. General Dynamics was selected in 1999 as the overall system engineering and integration partner for the venture and serves as the prime contractor for the ground segment. Using Low-Earth Orbiting (Little LEO) satellite systems, the FAISAT system will deliver new digital data and messaging services to mass markets, including Internet-related markets, beginning in 2002. Large service-sector operations are expected to be attracted to the system's global and personal messaging capabilities.

Raytheon will complete the design of the ground segment and construct a global network control center, network operations centers, RF ground stations, satellite control centers and the terrestrial backbone infrastructure. Raytheon has made a significant cash equity investment in Final Analysis and, as the ground segment partner, Raytheon's Space Systems business unit is also responsible for wholesale and retail billing systems to standardize system accounting and billing processes for national service providers and value-added resellers. The value of the ground segment development and equity investment by Raytheon in Final Analysis is approximately $55 M.

56 Million Homes Worldwide to Enjoy Digital TV by the End of the Year

A new study from Strategy Analytics Inc., "Interactive Digital Television: Worldwide Market Forecasts,"predicts that 56 million homes around the world will be outfitted with digital television by the end of this year. The UK, now the world's most advanced market with an expected 29 percent of homes having switched to digital TV, is followed by the US with 24 percent and France and Spain with 15 percent each.

According to the study, 34.4 million homes had access to digital TV at the end of 1999. The study finds that competition from satellite services is forcing cable operators to make digital services available, particularly in the US, and predicts that cable will become the leading provider of digital TV services and enjoy a 55 percent global market share by 2005. The limited capacity of terrestrial digital TV services and their technical difficulties, particularly in the US, are limiting their growth and weakening their position relative to the satellite and cable system providers.

More than 17 million digital set-top boxes were installed during 1999. Global sales in 2000 are expected to reach 28 million, and annual sales by 2005 are expected to reach nearly 92 million units. Leading digital TV operators in Europe are also beginning to offer interactive and online service enhancements such as e-mail, home shopping, banking and games in competition with PC-based Internet service providers. For additional information, contact David Mercer, Strategy Analytics (781) 235-6550, fax (781) 235-6061.

China Unicom Awards $300 M Network Expansion Contracts

M otorola has announced the signing of 10 new digital cellular network expansion contracts with China Unicom, which are worth a total of $300 M. Under the terms of the contracts (20 percent of which involve China Eastern Communications Co. (Eastcom) and Guangzhou Jinpeng Group Co. (Jinpeng)), Motorola will expand China Unicom's GSM 900 networks in eight of China's major provinces. (The provinces' combined population is 421 million people.) China Unicom's GSM network capacity is expected to double to 10.5 million subscribers when the expansion work is completed by the end of the year. In addition to the GSM 900 network expansions, Motorola will also deploy GSM 1800 systems for China Unicom in Shandong and Guangdong provinces. These systems, with a capacity of one million subscribers, are the first GSM 1800 installations for China Unicom.

Broadband Satellite Voice/Data Systems Likely to Survive Early Problems

D espite the recent failures of the Iridium and ICO broadband satellite voice/data communications systems, a report from Allied Business Intelligence forecasts that the concept is likely to survive as remaining operators are able to offer competitive rates and potential subscribers recognize the benefits that are available. While voice-over satellite is the most problematic segment of the industry, the study projects that close to eight million voice terminals will be in use by 2004 with revenues of $7.5 B. On the other hand, satellite-based narrowband messaging has been identified as a viable service. That segment is forecast to have 33 million messaging terminals in service by the end of 2007, up from one million in 2000, and 2007 revenues of $3.8 B, up from $405 M in 2000. For additional information, contact Allied Business Intelligence Inc. (516) 624-3113. *