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Mobile digest '2000. Technologies and communications.

November 9, 2000

With these digest we begin a new chapter concerning mobile communications ovelties. We'll observe not only new technologies but also news from operators about taxes changing, etc. We hope this digest will be a full guide for our readers through the world of mobile communications.

Market novelties

The world's going crazy about "intellectual phones" or smartphones. October was rich to present many of them. Neopoint company presented 2 new devices:Neopoint 2000 and Neopoint 2600, they are a logical successors of previously presented Neopoint 1000 and Neopoint 1600. Battery work time is increased, weight decreased and some features are improved as well. There are QWERTY keyboards for them and you can also use all the features of PDAs.

Many manufacturers want to fill smartphones with the features of Palm Pilots. It's so because Palm OS takes about 75% of PDA OSes market (thanks to Palm and Handspring). So it wasn't a surprise when these brands decided to have some profit from mobile market and both announced a device to turn your PDA into a smartphone. Palm united with RealVision company from Hong Kong that developed an additional module for GSM communications. This device plug into a serial port of Palm V and phone furniture connects with module. Handspring wants to fully use the expansion slot. Interesting that the price of both devices turned out to be the same and you should also note that there's a solution for turning your Visor into a mobile phone.

There's another suggestion about this additional device from Palm. It's known that largest sales of these PDAs are situated in USA and Canada and Europe is less attractive. So company decided to present not just PDA but a set of PDA and device with GSM phone features. Europe's market is more dynamic so to say and this additional GSM device will be able to increase sale profits.

Many use Palm as a small computer for untraditional purposes. New MobileAria company announced a device for voice dialing inside a car. There were no technical features given but as we can see its just a Palm connected to a voice recognition device. This addition is main in this solution. The price is high enough, because Palm V cost much itself.

Ericsson and Sanyo chose another way. The first declined Microsoft's OS and developed its own (OS Symbian) and the second licensed it.

Last week on a Internet World Fall 2000 Expo in New York Ericsson demonstrated "intellectual" Smartphone R380. It combines an organiser and GSM mobile with WAP support. The size is about that of a usual mobile phone. Shippings to Europe have already began and to USA it'd be shipped in the fourth quarter. Ericsson decided to push it to USA markets though it takes only 15% of it. Ericsson representative explained that due to GSM domination in the world (60% of markets).

You can find this device in Moscow already and in two weeks you;d be able to read a review. The price is about $600-650.

And Sanyo began to present it's new Mobile Communicator smartphone in Japan. It supports Bluetooth, USB and uses Symbian EPOC as OS.

Mobile market competitions are great enough and real working models are in big demand. But main stream of development is aimed at combining PDAs and mobiles. 3G standards will make such combinations compulsory and the base for such breakthrough is being created already now. Spectrum Signal Processing Inc., that develops signal processing systems, annoucned a patent for its new Solano Communications chip. It was made to solve a problem of traffic limitations due to slow signal processing in telecommunications, i.e. cellular base stations. this solution is important for future 3G cellular stations when huge volumes of data would be processed in realtime mode. Such solutions based on Solano Communications chip can be used in packet voice messages transmission gateways, etc.

Qualcomm Inc. announced a highspeed transmissions solution for 1x Evolution (1xEV) standard - MSM5500 Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipset and software for it. This solution is able to transmit data up to 2.4 Mbit/sec, it's compatible with cdma2000 1x and IS-95 CDMA standards. New chipset will allow to develop new devices for highspeed Internet access. 1xEV standard is a successor of High Data Rate (HDR) technology and uses 1,25 MHz frequency. The cost of 1 Mbit transmission is the lowest among all wireless transmissions technologies. It supports Bluetooth and gpsOne locator system, SnapTrack and Qtunes multimedia (MP3) and Compact Media Extension. First models will be available in the second quarter of '2000, mass production will begin in the 3rd quarter.

Mainstream of cellular phones development is the mamimum integration with data storage devices and expansion of their features. Nikkei Mechanical reports that on CEATEC Japan 2000 Sony presented a mobile with Memory Stick memory with an MP3-player feature. Incoming signal transmits to headphones and user can switch between music and talk with a small remote control. It can also be used as a voice recorder.

Such devices are not a surprise (i.e. Samsung SGH-M100) but here's no 32 MBytes card changing. And Siemens SL45 has such a possibility and we hope it'd be in production already in the first half of '2000 unlike Ericsson T36s because Ericsson cancelled this device production. Quote rates fell by 24% after the announce of 3rd quarter results. It was also announced that customer products dept working with mobiles gave 594 million loss for the first three quaters. So this cancelling was a needed measure taken to prevent future losses. Now Ericsson will only develop one Bluetooth model - R520.

This month was rich with announces of subscriber location systems. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. on CEATEC Japan 2000 presented a miniature (28 mm x 18 mm x 6 m, 7 gramm weght) GPS module developed for use in mobiles. Subscriber location time depends on environment temperature. (40 secs with room temperature, 15 with high, and 60 with low). Block containing all parts of the device (GPS-transmitter, logical BIC and a memory module) takes 14 cub.cm. and weighs 23 gramms. Read New Services chapter about other positioning technologies.

Exotic devices for controlling digital cameras via a mobile were presented on World PC Expo 2000 by Olympus Optical Co. I-mode features users would be able to shoot/receive photos over Internet from a camera to a phone. But a server and an HDD are also needed for these operations. All format conversions will take place on a server and the transmission will be held over LAN or ISDN networks and also over cellular ones. Such solutions will find their niche in distance monitoring systems and etc..

ANd here's a device interesting and surprising from all points of view. Media Computing Lab of japanese NTT DoCoMo company developed a strange mobile phone that doesn't have a speaker. Incoming ring is being converted into vibrations that reach your ear via your own hand. So the phone is just a small bracelet on your wrist. We'll see where all this will come to.

Tomy Co, japanese games and digital cameras developing company, is going to put out a new Me:3 solution that costs only $37. The resolution will be not so big - 120x120 and not a lot of other features as well, but this device would be able to connect to mobiles. But not to all of them - only to those able to "understand" it. And the first of such devices would be C310T from Toshiba. Observing all this we can say it will be a new "toy" for japanese market.

In China CDMA-GSM compatible SIM cards were presented. They are called GemXplore World and were created by GemPlus company, and phones themselves were developed and produced by state Zhongxing Telecom Equipment Co. (ZTE) company. The working condotions of a phone were demonstarated by a call to Qualcomm's chief Dr. Irwin Jacobs. Qualcomm is an owner of CDMA technology and it brings some big profit now.

If this technology will spread over the world, the border between different standards will almost vanish. The main minus of CDMA is impossibility to change the phone and leave the same number by yourself. These opearions are held in cellular operator's service center.

Siemens presented two new usual mobile phones - Siemens C30 and Siemens M30. Siemens A35 was also presented to fill the niche of cheap base models.

Sony decided to produce a successor of good-selling Sony CMD-Z5. It will be called Sony CMD-J5.

LG presented an LG600 model of a double-folding mobile phone.

Thuraya presented two new GSM phones with satellite transmission support. These models feature periodical two geostationary orbit satellites communications (up to 250000 phones support) that allow to use up to 13750 channels and expands phone capabilities giving an opportunity to communicate over GSM networks. These systems are to be used by people that use their mobiles everywhere. The price is 800-900 euro and the first tax for connection to the network will be 36 euro, monthly payment - 15 euro. Fax feature will cost 5.5 euro/month and the same for data transmissions. SMS will cost 0.25 euro, free time - 6 secs. The minute of talking will cost from 0.6 to 2 euro. The system will begin working in the beginning of '2001. Now only two such phones are presented.

On European market Motorola presented its new Motorola V8088 and Timeport 7689 as V50 and Timeport 250. Timeport 250 has absolutely new features for such phones:

  • Hi-Res display with blue luminescent light
  • New GUI with drop-down menus
  • 4 new melodies, user melodies, SMS melody transfer
  • 3 games
  • Alarm clock (only when the phone is on)
  • 300 numbers phonebook
  • Calendar, notebook, sound notifications
  • On-screen SMS sender name (!)

Possio company presented a new GSM fax on the russian market that allows to talk during fax operations. This device is unique now, and here's the review of Possio PM70 that is more simple than PM80.

New Services

Nokia company decided to give her customers a possibility to create their own Nokia 5100 phone designs and opened Nokia Custom Phones site for these purposes. You'll be able to get to this site via http://www.nokiausa.com. There will be lots of clipart to ease the design process. When the design is ready, client leaves it on the server and in 2-3 weeks receives his own unique phone. Before this time such services were only possible while choosing cars, when you could choose a color and other features.

As we already noted there were many announces concerning GPS systems. Phone.com and SnapTrack were the first to present their devices.

Phone.com company, a developer of mobile internet solutions, made an alliance with SnapTrack Inc., a subdept of Qualcomm, to create a technology for subscribers positioning based on Mobile Location Server (MLS) technology. MLS platform and SnapSmart from SnapTrack present a solution that has unique features and works when other GPS systems don't. Using Location Indoors option from SnapTrack you can locate somebody within 3-20 m radius.

After them Nokia presented its mPosition for cellular operators that will allow them to create new positioning services for their clients. They would be able to receive info about traffic, weather, to book seats in cinemas, etc. This solution can be realized in any cellular system. More info will follow.

Nokia also presented mCatch positioning solution for mobile internet systems. The development is being held with Radiolinija, a finnish cellular operator, that presented RX (Received Signal Strength) algorithms.

Nokia mCatch open standards and GMLC (Gateway Mobile Location Centre) interface. It allows to create subscriber positioning services for any GSM systems, using Cell ID technologies, RX signal strength determination, Timing Advance. Being a part of mPosition, mCatch supports other standards and can be improved for 3G networks.

Radiolinija will become the first operator to use mCatch. Tests will begin in Jan'2001.

Nortel Networks announced its alliance with Cambridge Positioning Systems (CPS) for creation a subscriber positioning technology based on 3G UMTS standard. CPS will develop this system using Observed Time Difference of Arrival (OTDOA) standard, that is a successor of Enhanced Observed Time Difference (E-OTD) standard. Nortel Networks will integrate CPS's products into e-mobility Location Center. This will allow client to receive info about nearest operator services on any of mobile devices.

The question of security systems is in important connection with GPS systems. An austrian company that develops antitheft alarms presented on Security'2000 expo in Assen its new product: with the help of SMS client would be able to stop his stolen car by cutting off gas injection and also block the doors for the police to catch the criminal.

A new telemetric system was also made by finnish developers. They presented a solution for transferring telemetric info from car's wheels over cellular channels.

This development allowed Nokian Renkaat automobile company, Nokia Corporation and american Flextronics International to get together for creation of new systems in the future.

Airpressure and temperature sensors are mounted into wheels and connected to microdevices for transferring data to the mobile phone. The system uses Bluetooth protocol.

But you should note that such telemetric devices are already being used in marine aviation. Info about pressure inside airplane chassis is used to determine braking line altitude above the landing site on the ship.

In this product info from wheels will tell the driver if there are some problems with them. Finnish developers are also going to add other features such as antitheft system and etc.

The system will be out for masses in the next year.

Another auto+mobile service was presented in Stockholm. It allows to pay for the parking via your phone. Now you won't have to search through your pockets for coins, just make a call and drive in.

This Park and ring program is in test "mode" now. After this it will be installed on 105 thousands of Stockholm parkings.

When driving in, user dials a number and additional 5 digits corresponding to the number of parking place. The bill will be sent along the one for mobile phone and this simplifies payings. In the future this system will tell drivers how much they spent for parking. The work of the system is provided by Telia cellular operator and negotiations with others are being held now also.

But if you forget ot make a call while leaving the parking you'd be still billed as if you are inside it. And some people also say that this system doesn't give any economy of time and money.

But it simplified labour of parking workers. They now have WAP devices and can get to know in seconds if the driver paid for his place. In some dangerous situation they are able to tell the driver about it. But this Park and Ring system isn't the only presented to Stockholm mobile phone users. There's also an "aquaintance" service to help people know each other in the place where they leave.

In November mobilePosition company that developed the above system, is going to present mobile phone users new services - houseFinder and brandFinder. The first will help to buy houses, and the second - goods.

As mobilePosition says mobile phones must be easy to use, informative and nice to look at. They create services that don't use GPRS technology. Another bikePosition started in November'1999. It helps bike owners to find the nearest gas station. yachtPosition service also started at that time. It provides information about weather, ports, gas staions nearest to the place where call was made from. it has about 30000 of users now, and bikePosition - about 5000. These servoces cost additional 50 cents/minute.

Another interesting novelty was presented by Materna telecommunication company in Berlin on the YOU youngsters expo. With Condomi AG company it developed a new condom selling machine. To buy one user must choose corresponding option on wap.anyway.com site and in some seconds the machine will throw out needed condoms. The payment is processed automatically via the phone.

It's known that one of the mobile communication problems is absence of transaction security standards. So VeriSign Inc. and Motorola Inc. announced the expansion of strategic partnership. This concerns the use of VeriSign's ID and digital signature systems and also some others in Motorola's mobiles. Both companies decided to unite their marketing efforts as well.

Another pair of companies decided to work together. SmartTrust, a subdept of Sonera, finnish cellular operator, and Eurogiro Network A/S. They decided to develop a system of safe mobile transactions in 30 countries of the world. Along with SmartTrust, Compaq also takes part in this project. Eurogiro processes transactions in a number of +european countries using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) software. As experts say, safe mobile transactions will become the base for mobile commerce. SmartTrust and Compaq are going to present the software already in November of this year.

And the last boost of manufacturers activity concerns increasing data storage capabilities of mobile devices. It also includes paper printing features. The first here is Hewlett-Packard with its HP WIRE (Web Information Relay) service. It allows to redirect information requested from a WAP device to a nearby printer or fax connected to network. HP's software situated on a web-server will send information to a printer/fax address marked by phone user. So clients will be able to get a high-quality picture instead of small one on the phone screen. Nowadays this service is being tested in Singapore.

Texas Instruments and TROY XCD became partners to develop wireless printing features for mobile phones. Users with the help of compulsory software and Bluetooth modules provided by these companies will be able to print their documents sending them via Bluetooth protocol to any nearby Bluetooth compatible printer.

As the general chief of TROY company says, the base of the project is the intellectual mobile market progress. Phones nowadays much more resemble PDAs with communication features then usual phones. And printing capability will become a needed feature for sure.

In the beginning TROY's wireless printing software will be provided along with GSM solutions from Texas Instruments. Such solutions will allow to add more functions to phones and also to decrease time needed for putting a new product out on markets. Another side of this partnership is TROY's software marketing among mobile phones manufacturers that use Bluetooth standards.

Bluetooth-chipsets from Texas Instruments are created using 0.18 micron technology and are provided with all needed software for Bluetooth devices. Such a solution provides high productivity and high integration level without using flash memory. The technology itself is supported by over 2000 companies that take part in Bluetooth Special Interest Group, including all brands. So TROY's software may become rather popular among manufacturers and developers.

Bluetooth devices

Bluetooth gains more and more popularity. It's a close range wireless communication technology developed by Bluetooth Special Interest Group consortium that includes such brands like Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba. Bluetooth is an open standard for transferring voice and data between mobile and desktop devices. Already there are lots of devices supporting this technology and in the future this quantity will only grow.

Mobile Bluetooth becomes more and more popular. In Japan TU-KA Phone Group presented another Bluetooth device - an MP3-player mounted into headphones. When there's an incoming call on your mobile phone, it would be transmitted to headphones via Bluetooth protocol. Another device presented by this company is more usual - a set of headphones and a mic connected to the phone via the same Bluetooth.

Ceatec Japan 2000 showed that japanese manufacturers liked Bluetooth very much. Sony's prototypes were the most interesting of all presented. It announced a variant of Memory Sticks - Application Sticks that being inserted into a mobile can convert it to FM/TV tuner or even into a digital camera or a GPS device. Of course all these products use Bluetooth protocol. Another interesting novelty was presented by Sanyo - BT-2000 with a feature of connecting Kyocera's digital camera. Shots taken can be transmitted via Bluetooth to a printer or another mobile phone.

TU-KA Phone Group presented a prototype of Bluetooth MP3-player - SolidAudio. When the user is listening to the music he's able to hear an incoming call request and answer it without touching his mobile. Player supports MP3 and TwinVQ. Price information follows.

TDK Corp. on the same expo demonstrated two small halfwave antennas (7 mm x 7 mm) designrd for use in Bluetooth devices. CANPB0715 has 5dBi amplifying coefficient and CANPB0715 - 3dBi. These products will be out for sale in March'2001. the majority of all other antennas are quarterwave and are attached to the side of a mobile, so they can be used only in large devices such as notebooks with case grounding. And for mobile phones new halfwave antennas are needed.

Bluetooth modules continue to shrink in size. Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronic Industries Ltd. developed a Bluetooth module that is only 1/3 size of the original. Such "resizing" was made after resituating all passive parts and some other components to a ceramic underlayer. This company is the first to present such an antenna though the technology had been already announced by Murata Manufacturing Co. There are no specifications present, but it's known that due to internal form-factor an improvement of +1.5dBi was gained. this module will be put out for sale on November. The price is 50000 yenas.

USA also doesn't want to be the last. Texas Instruments together with TROY Group company announced a technology for sending documents to nearby printers via Bluetooth protocol.

And at last the main event on Bluetooth phones market. GN Netcom company was the first to announce a commercial fully certified product - GN 9000 Digital compact phone.

Inside this decice is a chipset made by Digianswer company that was presented on PCIA GlobalXChange expo in September'2000 in Chicago.

The first shippings of GN 9000 will begin in November'2000. The price will be $299. The base station for this phone will cost $499. GN Netcom has already opened "order season" for these device.

The prices seem to be rather high but the manufacturer say that they'll go down after Bluetooth devices will become more popular.

Mobile brands market standings and positions

In the beginning of October Ericsson said its opinion about the future of mobile communications. As their representatives say they have already begun to develop 4G networks that are 50 more times capable than 3G networks. It's said that the phone will become a universal system able to determine if the owner is situated behind the garage door or i.e. is in the shop. And 100 Mbit/sec of capability is really serious. But if you remember when 3G systems were worked at for the first time - in 1991 - you'll think that only in 10 years we'll see 4G networks. But they say they'll improve 3G standards in some 5 years.

And in 2 years Ericsson predicts great increasing of mobile services clients - from 600 million to 1 milliard, and by '2003 there will be more mobile internet users than "fixed".

But quotes of Ericsson fell down by 24% in October, and it had to make some announcements. One planned model of a mobile phone was cancelled due to tries to restore profits. And maybe this business will be excluded into a separate dept due to large losses. And all this because of strategic mistakes and some high-end components lacking.

So though Ericsson is the 3rd in the world among mobile brands, his lesser competitors will outrun it in this year. Maybe separation of mobile business into a subdept will help and maybe Ericsson will allow third party manufacturers to produce its devices.

Then another announcement. Ericsson's president Kurt Hellstrom said that for the first time in history overproduction of mobiles is at hand. All symptoms were noticed already in the 3rd quarter and will continue to appear in the 4th. In USA supply is more than demand now and it'll continue in Europe.

Anticrisis measures are standard - to lower the price of phones by 20%, but this will give any results only in 4th quarter. And this is one of the reasons why Ericsson predicts decreasing sale volumes in its customer subdept.

And the leader of brands - Nokia, said that it isn't afraid of competitors' low prices, becuase new models of mobiles are already at hand. But what they are - 6210 and 3310 or others, this we don't know.

Motorola analitics repeat Ericsson's words. They say that sale volumes of mobile phones will continuously decrease. Motorola's sales in '2001 will be $525-575 million instead of $600-650 as was planned.

At once after these declarations quotes of mobile phone manufacturers went down. Those of Motorola - by 16.4%, after the announcement that the profits would be lower than planned. Now they are lower by 23% already. Other manufacturers felt the same symptoms: Siemens - down by 5.44%, Philips - 5.21%, Alcatel - 9.34%, Ericsson - 6.16%.

And Nokia's results are impressive instead. After 3rd quarter profits were 1.34 milliard euros (before tax payments) and that is 42% more than in the last year, and predicted profits were only 1.15 milliard euros. Sale volumes increased by 50% comparing the last year and made up 7.58 milliard euros. Sales of the main mobile phones dept increased by 59% and made up 5.46 milliard euros. And "pure" profit per quote increased by 36% and made up 0.19 euro.

Nokia's executive director Jorma Ollila noted that sales would continue to grow and would make up 25-35%. He also agreed with predictions about quantity of mobile phones to be sold in the world in '2000 - 400 million. So the number of mobile services clients will grow up to 700 million people in the world. And in '2002 all 1 milliard of mobiles will be sold.

As we can see different companies give different opinions about the future of mobile market due to their own different positions on it.

Nokia's profits seem to be well earned, because this company always produces new mobile models and equipment for cellular networks. During UMTS'2000 in Barcelona Nokia presented its new NetAct Configurator for managing cellular networks. It's a part of Nokia NetAct Framework that has more than 20 interfaces and consists of three modules: NetAct Radio Access Configurator, NetAct Traffic Control Configurator and NetAct Packet Core Configurator. NetAct Configurator can work together with NetAct Planner - a set of network planning instruments.

Nokia also presented a line of 3G base stations. They are based on previously produced Nokia UltraSite WCDMA Base Station and include three products for WCDMA networks: Nokia UltraSite WCDMA Base Station Optima, Nokia UltraSite WCDMA Base Station Optima Compact (the most compact system of WCDMA-communications with built-in power module), Nokia UltraSite WCDMA Base Station Optima Supreme (this one has almost unlimited capability). All these stations will appear for sale only in the second half of '2001.

And the last from Nokia: SGSN (Serving GPRS Support Node). This new system has 1Gbit capability and high suscriber capacity as well. These features allow to process IP-phones and multimedia traffic in realtime mode. It's also capable of working with new billing systems and providing taxations of new mobile services. First shipments of Nokia 3G SGSN will begin in the first half of '2001.

Ericsson presented a new WAP gateway for mobile commerce (m-commerce), also allowing users to get access to their corporate network resources via a mobile terminal. New gateway is designed to support different mobile communication and information applications on all levels of e-commerce, and is also compatible with many presnt and future mobile systems.

Third party manufacturers were active at getting CDMA licenses from Qualcomm. I.e. Philips Semiconductors and Qualcomm Inc. signed a license agreement to expand previous between Qualcomm VLSI Technology, that was bought by Philips.

As stated in this agreement, Philips gets rights for the full set of CDMA technologies. This set includes (not mention CDMA patent) 3G CDMA licenses and they unite such standards as Multi-Carrier (cdma2000) and Direct Spread (W-CDMA). Philips also gets rights for future CDMA development for use in mobile phones and other devices with internet access feature.

Siemens in it's turn got a license for Java technologies from Sun Microsystems. According to this agreement Siemens will be able to use Java 2 Platform Micro Edition and this will allow users to download games and other "interactive" services from internet servers. Analitics say that nowadays mobiles doesn't have capabilities to use Java, but as these technologies will appear only in the first half of '2001, we'll see who was right.

And the last news. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd invested $10 million into building of a new factory in Indonesia. It will specialise in assembling mobiles for asian markets. As the director of Samsung Electronics Indonesia Lee Kang Hyun says, the company approved this project after successive sales in this region.

Nowadays Samsung controls about 10% of electronics market in this region.

And in the end something to think about. Acer Communications & Multimedia announced its intensions of increasing mobile phones production by 50% comparing with September when about 500000 devices were sold. Now the company receives many requests from its clients. This increase seems to violate Motorola's pessimistic predictions about the future of mobile market. Commercial Times of Taiwan noted that other companies, including Motorola may begin to make subcontracts with Acer to lower production expences.

Monthly scandals continue...

Now some intrigues to change the subject. Chiefs of some cellular operators presented an ultimatum to GSM Assosiation during 44th assembly that took place on Thursday in Montreux, Sweden. As they think, GSMA pays less attention to 3G mobile communication than needed. And if it doesn't prepare all compulsory standartisation documents by the next year it may lose faith of cellular operators.

Neil Montefiore) - CEO of Singapore's Mobil One (M1) said that GSMA must unite all operators and restructure itself to continue existance, because now it doesn't have a single executive core in key fields of mobile communications.

A number of initiatives concerning WAP and UMTS have already passed with GSMA taking part in them, though it presents about 70% of mobile phone users throughout the world.

Though GSM roaming is one of GSMA's advancements, nothing is known about it's part in GPRS roaming, and M1 is going to sign an agreement concerning it in some weeks.

GSMA is the coordination structure for GSM operators and it presents more than 400 of them, as well as satellite communication operators and 3G networks. It also presents regulative and administrative structures, brand manufacturers and suppliers of GSM industry.

3G communication licenses

It's not a surprise that 3G networks will soon become a part of our life. It's proved by cellular operators interests and interest of manufacturers as well.

Belguim government for example, is going ot begin an auction of 3G licenses. It thinks to get about $1.5 milliard profit from it. The pawn-cost of each of the 4 licenses is 75 million euros ($62 million), and every pretender must present proof of his successful finance business. The exact date will be published after all conditions will be approved by the parliament.

And in Spain 3G license holders want to begin a case in the court with the government, because they think that increase from 5 million euros to 150 million euros of tax collection is too big for companies to endure.

3G license distribution in Spain was based on the competition between companies, and only the most productive and successful of them got them. Therefore licenses gave less profit to government than in Germany and Great Britain - $430 million (520 million euros). "The government raised tax collections because german and british auctions showed continuous grow of radiospectre's market price", said spanish minister of technologies.

Xfera, Telefonica, Airtel and Amena - those having licenses, must cover 23 cities with cells by the August of '2001. And due to high taxes it may become impossible.

German operators also try to restore losses concerning UMTS licenses. Mobilcom's executive director prepares for a case in court with german government about returning 16.5 milliard marks or $9 million. The company had to spend such sum to get an UMTS license. ANd experts say that he may win the case.

Another big telecommunication company Viag Interkom is going to begin similar case. Two months ago T-Mobile, a subdept of Deutsche Telekom, Mannesmann Mobilfunk, E-Plus, Viag Interkom, Mobilcom and spanish-finnish 3G consortium had to spend 100 milliard marks on the auction to get a license.

In Poland there are also unpleased operators: Polkomtel, Centertel and Polska Telefonia Cysrowa (PTC) declared a boycott against UMTS license tender that will begin on the 10th of November, if the government doesn't process a number of conditions. The main objection is the demand to operators to open their GSM networks for new companies after reaching 30% cover of the country. They wants this border to be increased up to 50%. As Polkomtel's representative said, each of the companies invested $1.5 milliard into GSM development. And by tender's conditions new companies will be able to use GSM networks investing only $50-60 million, and that violates the law in Polkomtel's opinion. More of this, companies wrote about 40 letters to the government with demands such as to decrease quantity of licenses from 5 to 4 and exclude "empty check" thatevery company must include into a license request. The government can invest about 750 million euros in case of some violation in requests. In addition companies don't want a personal government negotiator to be given to each of the candidates.

This some risk in such actions, because Poland's government announced the list of 19 pretenders including spanish Telefonica, finnish Sonera and Hutchison Whampoa from Hong Kong.

And in the same time government left it's positions lowering license price by 100 million euros. It also has already said about possibilities of decreasing license quantity to 4. According to Poland's laws the government must give out the licenses before the end of this year or the case will be put aside until '2002.

Italian government officially announced the end of a "UMTS license auction". The profit made up $11.95 milliard.

Two blocks of additional frequency spectres reserved for mobile market newbies were sold to Andala and Ipse for $683 million each. 5 main licenses were bought by Telecom Italia Mobile, Omnitel Pronto Italia (Vodafone), Ipse (30% owned by Telefonica), Wind (France Telecom and electroenergetic Enel group) and Andala (Hong Kong's Hutchison).

Auction wsa finished after Blu consortium left it during 11th round. Though the majority voted for the consortium to continue taking part in the auction, blocking packets owners voted against it. The government blocked Blu's $4.7 deposit and the company wants to begin a case in the court to return at least $42 million as compensation.

The sums paid by auctioners are positioned this way:

  • Omnitel - $2.03 milliard.
  • Ipse - $2.02 milliard.
  • Wind - $2.01 milliard, without additional spectre
  • Andala - $2.01 milliard, without additional spectre
  • Telecom Italia Mobile - $2 milliard.

Israel still had no such auctions and vice versa, Telecommunication Ministry of Israel declared a tender for giving 3G license. It'd become 4th license in the country with three operators already present: Pelephone (1,4 million subscribers), owned by Motorola and Bezeq Israel Telecom; Cellcom (1,65 million subscribers), owned by BellSouth, brasilian Safra Brothers and Discount Investment Corp; and Partner Communications (600000 subscribers), under label of Orange company. New operator is said to supply 3G networks services. Israel's government thinks thatprices for mobile services are rather high now and therefore there's a place for competition between operators. But three "old" operators thinks that four companies for 6 million people would be too much, and 3G services can be supplied by already present operators. I.e. closest plans of all three operators include mobile WAP internet services.

And Singapore's government declared its intensions of giving out 3G licenses during the auction that will take place in February'2001. The rules will be published in December. Analitics say that due to small size of this country and small population (4 million) transnational companies won't want to take oart in it, but however due to well spread infrastructure of Singapore it may become a good polygon for 3G networks tests.

Japanese operator J-Phone announced about its intensions of creating a 3G service in December'2001. The company hopes to make a number of roaming contracts with WCDMA-network operators in various countries of the world, using its partnership with Vodafone and British Telecom.

J-Phone is going to present mobile internet services called J-Sky that will compete with i-mode from NTT DoCoMo. And the least is going to create 3G services already in May'2001, half a year earlier. J-Phone East's CEO Kyouichiro Kouri declared that 2G and 3G networks will coexist for some years using improved infrastructure of new generation. By his opinion, company needs roaming contracts with various countries in the world. And by this moment J-Phone doesn't have international roaming due to PDC standard incompatibility with other standards. Speaking about 3G networks, oth J-Phone and DoCoMo will use WCDMA and the third operator - au, will use cdma2000.

J-Phone has about 9 million clients, one third of them subscribed for J-Sky service. The main owner of this company is Japan Telecom (54%), 20% is owned by British Telecom and 26% by Vodafone.

The president of USA Bill Clinton declared an order to the government, Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and private telecommunication companies to increase rates of 3G networks development. This order states that USA is outrun by many countries in the questions of telecommunications, especially by Japan and Finland where mobile market is very well grown and positioned. Clinton gave rights fo federal structures to prepare blocks of frequencies for 3G networks developing. FCC stated that works concerning frequency exploration and testing have already began. It's known that three main spectres for 3G communications were determined during World Radiocommunication Conference that was held this year.

First wireless cdma2000 1XRTT (1X) network, developed by 3Com and Samsung Electronics, was launched into commercial use. On the 1st of October this 3G network was presented by SK Telecom company.

3G cdma2000 1X allows its clients to receive mobile internet access with speeds about 144Kbit/sec. This network supports simultaneous audio, video and text services, new packet commutation technology and double increase of channel capacity.

3G cdma2000 1X will be presented by SK Telecom in Seoul region and then in some other regions by the end of the year. With time this network will cover the majority of South Korea.

3Com/Samsung 3G cdma2000 1X corresponds to IS-2000 standards developed by Telecommunications Industry Association, TIA.

In cdma2000 1X Base station Controller (BSC) connects directly to PSDN node via A10/A11 interface. PDSN functions as a network commutator. For user autentification and traffic control PDSN use autentification, audition and administration (AAA) RADIUS server, and after this it transfers data to gateway router/home agent (GRHA).

Samsung proveides the network with radioaccess equipment: base send/receive systems and base station controllers. 3Com Carrier Networks dept provides equipment for central data transmission network, including PDSN, Home Agent (HA), RADIUS servers and network managing system. Both compaies' machines communicate with each other via standartized IOS Version 4 interfaces according to TIA/EIA/IS-2001, TIA IS-2000, TIA/EIA/TSB115 (PN-4286) and TIA/EIA/IS-835 (PN-4732).

Nokia company made a 3 year contract about 3G solutions shipping with swedish Orange company that belongs to France Telecom. First stage of this contract provides base network elements shippings and also shippings of 3G Mobile Switching Centres (3G MSC) for creation of IP base network.

In USA Motorola Inc. made a contract with Alltel about 3G network creation. It's the first such contract in USA. It's financial sides are unknown. Motorola will provide equipment and software for CDMA 2000 1x standard, including SC 4812 base stations for creation mobile communication network in New Orleans and Baton Rouge cities of Louisiana. New network will provides speeds up to 144 Kbit/sec. The start is set to the 3rd quarter of '2001. Tests will begin this year.

On UMTS'2000 forum Lucent Technologies and KPN company announced technical tests of UMTS standards and applications for mobile internet access developed by both companies. The results will be presented to UMTS Forum and GSM Association, working together with ETSI.

Standards to be tested are described in ETSI's Release99. W-CDMA will be used as a base platform. Lucent have been developing it for three years already.

Other companies continue to license 3G networks. Qualcomm Inc. announced additions to the present license agreement with Fujitsu Limited, that was only about using cdmaOne standard. Now Fujitsu has a possibility to use Qualcomm's patents for developing, production and sales of corresponding equipment for WCDMA, cdma2000, TD-SCDMA. Fujitsu is one of the leaders in the field of mobile internet solutions.

Sharp's CDMA (cdma2000, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and 1xEV (HDR)) license was also expanded. Before this time it was covering only cdmaOne standard.

Kyocera Wireless Corp. ,an american subdept of japanese Kyocera Corp., and Lucent Technologies Inc. announced their intensions to develop CDMA 3G networks together. Kyocera mobiles and Lucent wireless communication infrastructure will be used in this project. The first stage will consist of tests of cdma2000 3G-1X. And in future solutions based on cdma200 1X-Evolution, W-CDMA and GPS will be developed as well.

MobileOne (Singapore) specialists conducted research that showed that 70% more base stations will be needed to set up a 3G network services. But UMTS/3G president of Lucent Technologies doesn't approve this opinion, he says that nowadays infrastructure can be successfully remodernized for 3G network to work.

Parthus company together with Psion, an electronic organisers brand, developed a mobile Internet platform called InfoStream. It's designed for HPC/PPCs, 3G mobile phones, automobile computers, etc.

The platform is based on Psion's ARM processor core. Psion had also made a license agreement with Parthus about using InfoStream platform in its 3G mobile HPC/PPCs and future Motorola's mobiles with Internet feature.

InfoStream is designed to work under EPOC from Symbian OS, but it also supports Pocket PC, Palm and Linux OS. Besides its architechture is optimized for different communications technologies, including GPRS (General Packet Radio Service).

As Parthus says, InfoStream combines high productivity and consumes little power. It includes LCD monitor controller with 16-bit color support, PC, CF and smart cards, SROM and Flash memory, it also has a USB controller. Nothing is still known about shippings and prices.

NEC Corporation announced its intention to invest $38.7 millions into 3 year scientific researches concerning 3G mobile technologies. This research will take place in australian center of science and technology that belongs to the company. NEC is one of the W-CDMA communication leaders of the world and is goingto be the first world 3G mobile technology supplier.

Other companies also try to find its niche on the field of 3G communications. Infineon Technologies began tests of its new M-GOLD processor that supports UMTS and GSM standards. As Infineon says, this processor is the first to be able to work in both 2G/3G systems. Some test models will be sent to mobile phones manufacturers in a month or two. This processor is one of the main mobile phone elements, doing 90% of all the job. Japanese UMTS networks are expected to start working in '2001 in Japan and in '2002 in Europe.

Nortel Networks (NYSE/TSE: NT) has announced new 3G mobile IP-network platforms based on IP-services and commutation platforms. 3G Core IP Network solution is designed to integrate data, audio, video streams transmissions thoughout one network. It will allow operators to install packet commutation technologies in the beginning of UMTS network creation, therefore lowering TDM (Time Division Multiplex) investments and improving potential of MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) standard. This solution will also allow operators to provide personalised services for each client.

3G Core IP Network in based on four platforms - Passport 15000 multiservice commutator, Shasta 5000 broad service node (BSN), Succession solution and Alteon web-content commutators. This system is expected to appear on the markets in the 4th quarter of '2001.

Nortel's representative predicted asian manufacturers to be leaders in 3G phones production. "Mobile phones production leaders such as Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola will lose their positions on the future 3G market," said Nortel's internet sector manager Lloyd Carney. "Instead of nowadays leaders Samsung, Sanyo and Panasonic will be ahead". The GSMA president also approves this opinion, he says that 2G phones manufacturers prepare good "soil" for future 3G companies.


Datamonitor's recent reports show that 270 million europeans will get access to mobile internet services by '2005. And 69% of mobile phones holders will use WAP for internet access.

The grow of mobile service suscribers in Europe is provided by 3G technologies "arrival" that allow to work with multimedia applications. The number of phone holders will continue to grow in the future as well as price competitions between cellular operators that will expand the number of their clients providing mobile services to other social categories.

By the way, text is still the most popular form of information. All '2005 mobile devices will have wireless data access features. About 144 million WAP mobiles are expected to be sold every year by '2005.

Mobile World agency published mobile communications distribution rating of countries. Sweden if the 4th for the first time - 65% of population use mobiles. Finland is the 1st as always - 72%. Iceland is the second - 70%, and Norway is the 3rd - 67%. Japan and USA have 40% and 50% correspondingly.

Other news

An interesting situation has formed in Netherlands. According to KPN's opinion street payphones are becoming unprofitable with the spread of mobiles. So 3400 of them were dismantled last year and many will be dismantled in the future as well. But some of them will be still left to avoid Universal Service Order violation, prescribing to have at least 1 payphone for 5000 citizens. Now there are 19200 payphones in Netherlands and 3250 will be dismantled next year.

Another interesting announcement was made by european telecommunication experts. They said that mobile internet will become popular only if mobile phones manufacturers and operators will simplify the process of using their products. Peter Erskine, the main executive director of British Telecommunications mobile dept, confessed that he doesn't know how to store a number in his own mobile phone. Therefore he says that 3G mobile phone developers must aim at creation of simple solutions easy to use even by unexperienced users. He also said that today's WAP devices are rather roughly made and this is the main obstacle on the way of their distribution. Others agreed with the opinion that all future devices must have user friendly interface andthat it's one of the main tasks for developers.

Much is discussed about the ecology and technology so to say. And recently Australian Mobile Telecommunications Assoiation started old mobiles utilization campaign. And there are about 10 millions of them. Thisd project is aimed at environment preservation and these old devices containing toxic organics and metals can greatly pollute soil after being thrown away as garbage. The collected old mobiles will be recycled and their metals will be used again. I.e. cadmium will be used in stainless stell production and gold will be used in electronics again. About 700 shops ahve already agreed to take part in this campaign, and organisers think to attract another 3000 of partners.

The mobile phone safety theme that attracted so much attention of our readers found its continuation in researches of English and Australian scientific groups that say mobile phones to be rather unsafe.

English scientists observed human organism during 30 minute talk over a mobile and noticed that in 6 minutes skin temperature near the phone raised by 2,3 degress and the airflow directed to nose from the phone side had changed as well.

But it's a good news that using hands-free sets can lower the possibility of such problems. In the end scientists came to a result that the consequences of using mobiles are still unknown.

Australian group points to a case of a man with a nervous disease whose reason couldn't be understood even after thorough brain scanning. The researchers found out that the man had a noticable difference between reactions in two brain parts and also had continuous headaches after using the mobile.

The chief of scientific group Peter Hocking said that these one-sided aches make mobile phone a source of health problems.

And some laws for the end. In Suffolk district, N.Y. a law was signed forbidding to use a mobile without hands-free set during automobile rides. This law was presented last month and will start to act from the 1st of January'2001. All violators will be fined $150. And such laws will also be signed in Chicago where fine will make up $25 for the first time and up to $100 for the next. But there's a question of controlling this law, actually it seems not so possible.

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