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From Bahia to Beijing

In this issue’s round-up of recent news: Brazilian boost for fixed and mobile applications; breakthrough in Russia; Asian activity intensifies; and is a dual mode digital handset on the way?

Bringing CDMA to Brazil
The coveted Brazilian market is opening up to digital wireless services. Auctions of 800MHz digital licenses have begun and the PCS frequencies are expected on the market by 1999.

With these in mind, it is useful to have made an early impression on the market — and that’s exactly what have NEC do Brasil S.A. has done. The company and the Brazilian telecommunications operator Telecomunicacoes da Bahia S.A. (Telebahia) have signed a contract to deploy the first CDMA cellular mobile system in the Brazilian market. The system will have an initial capacity of 25,000 subscribers and will serve Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia.

This contract has been quickly followed by another, this time between NEC do Brasil S.A. and the Brazilian Telecommunications operator Telecomunicacoes do Rio de Janeiro S.A. (Telerj). It calls for deployment of a digital cellular system based on IS-95 CDMA technology with an initial capacity of 150,000 in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro. The demand for cellular telephones in the state of Rio de Janeiro is estimated to be about 1.8 million people.

In the same market, a fixed wireless solution has recently been trialed. Qualcomm and Telebahia have begun subscriber testing of Qualcomm’s cdmaOne wireless local loop (WLL) system, also in Salvador. Telebahia, an 800 MHz wireless operator in the region, has installed a Qualcomm CDMA system for trial purposes.
The trial program is sponsored by Telebras, the national cellular operator, and is divided into two phases. The first phase included a rigorous series of laboratory tests of cdmaOne equipment functionality and performance. The second phase which began on October 15, consisted of a series of tests to be conducted by approximately 150 users in the Salvador metropolitan area.

Over the following 45 days, these users have had Qualcomm wireless local loop phones installed in their homes for evaluation and testing. The end users will participate in the process of evaluating the vendors who intend to supply WLL systems to the Brazilian market.

Its participation in this test program will, Qualcomm hopes, lead to the certification of the Company's cdmaOne wireless local loop products for commercial use in Brazil.

A Digital Double?
The prospect of dual mode handsets came closer recently, when Joanne Coleman of Qualcomm announced plans to produce a CDMA/GSM capable handset by 1999 in a presentation at the first annual CDMA European Regional Congress in London.

This news may not prove a major surprise to many observers, however. A number of Qualcomm-related projects have already explored areas of compatibility between the two systems, most notably, as Doug Dwyre of Globalstar explained, in the plans for his company’s own global mobile satellite system.
The soon-to-be published results of the Vodafone/Qualcomm research trials into integrating cdmaOne and GSM could well clarify further the approach to such a handset. The first quarter of next year will also see open demonstations of the test system for which, it was suggested, operators and administrations will be the most likely audience.

Samsung Chips In
The growing influence of Korea on the CDMA world was further underlined when Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced that it would join Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel and Qualcomm to accelerate the development of specifications for next generation wireless communication systems.

The rapid growth of Samsung CDMA-based products and systems, and the worldwide demand for advanced services required Samsung's participation in the standardization effort. Samsung has also gained substantial experience from its IS-95 system development and deployments with ETRI (Electronics and Telecom-munications Research Institute) in Korea.

The first system applications of the proposed specifications are expected to go into commercial operation by the year 2000. Operators in South Korea, Japan, China, Latin America, and the U.S. already have expressed interest in adopting this new third generation wireless technology.

Samsung is also one of three Korean wireless communications equipment manufacturers now including Lucent Technologies’ digital signal processor (DSP)-based compression and decompression (codec) technology in their CDMA wireless phones and base stations.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Hyundai Electronics Industries Co Ltd, and LG Information & Communications, Ltd (LGIC — the three major vendors of CDMA equipment in Korea — are manufacturing their new CDMA phones with Lucent’s DSP1627 chip and Enhanced Variable Rate Codec (EVRC) software. LGIC and Hyundai are also using Lucent’s EVRC chip in their CDMA wireless base stations. EVRC is a new global standard for compressing and decompressing voice signals.

In a CDMA phone, Lucent’s EVRC chip can serve as a coprocessor, interfacing with CDMA chip sets from other manufacturers. As a result, manufacturers can use the chip to add EVRC capability to their existing terminal designs with minimal re-engineering.

The Lucent chip comes equipped with all of the necessary software to enable EVRC. The Korean manufacturers will be supplying their EVRC-based products to Korean wireless service providers such as SK Telecom, the country’s top wireless service provider.

Into Indonesia
Motorola's Cellular Infrastructure Group (CIG) has signed a major contract to provide PT Telekomunikasi (Telkom) Indonesia with the first commercial cdmaOne wireless local loop network in that country.
Under a long-term purchase agreement, Motorola CIG will provide a 1.9 GHz WiLL system for a potential 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers throughout Indonesia.

The initial deployment of CDMA infrastructure equipment in Surabaya, East Java — Indonesia's second largest city — is planned for completion by the end of this year. PT Telkom plans to expand the system to provide extensive coverage to the city of Surabaya and its surrounding areas.

Technology Training
Motorola will invest $10 million to open personnel training facilities in Lima by the second semester of 1998 in order to develop CDMA technology in countries nearby, such as Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia.
Telefonica del Peru’s decision to make use of the CDMA technology motivated Motorola to invest in Peru. The two companies signed an agreement at the end of September, 1997. Nearly $350million will be invested by Telefonica over a five-year term to implement the technology in the country.

The investments will amount to $171million in 1997 and $115million in 1998. Telefonica’s goal is to reach one million wireless communications subscribers by the end of 2000. It predicts that it will reach 300,000 subscrubers by the end of 1997, which will provide the company with a 70% market share. According to Telefonica, 12,000 subscribers already use CDMA technology.

Canada and Beyond
The Canadian Bell Mobility company recently launched its personal communication services (PCS) simultaneously in four cities — Toronto, Ottawa,Montreal and Quebec City.

North America-wide roaming on analog and digital CDMA networks that cover more than 95 per cent of the population is offered aided by dual-mode handsets by Sony and Qualcomm that work on both the 1-9 GHz digital PCS network and the analog cellular network.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, British Columbia, Clearnet Communications Inc has launched Clearnet PCS, a national Personal Communications Services network which offers national coverage from the outset and like the Bell Mobility service, plans U.S. roaming on dual mode phones. Pure digital PCS service is available in the greater metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, but Clearnet PCS phones actually work everywhere traditional analog cellular phones work in Canada and, thanks to a roaming agreement with Sprint PCS, should ultimately offer clients the ability to roam and use their PCS phones in all 50 US states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Looking further ahead, Telus Mobility, Alberta's leading supplier of wireless voice and data communications, plans to bring advanced digital PCS to the province beginning in mid-1998 under a multi-year supply agreement with Nortel.

Valued at $CDN40 million (US$28.5 million) for the first year, the agreement includes cdmaOne digital wireless network equipment and services.

China Roaming Tests
Motorola CIG has successfully completed CDMA inter-system network roaming tests among the Chinese cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xian in the People's Republic of China.

The tests, the first to be completed in China, were conducted jointly with China Telecom Great Wall Network, a cooperative entity between the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and China Electronic System Engineering Company (CESEC). Motorola CIG’s CDMA network in Beijing is the first to complete network roaming tests with the three other CDMA trial systems being tested in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xian.

In the same market, China's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) has awarded Motorola CIG a $10 million contract for its new rapid deployment wireless local loop systems for use throughout China.

Motorola CIG’s new Rapid Deployment Vehicle (RDV) system is a complete wireless telephone system mounted on a truck. The RDV is based upon Motorola CIG's WiLL Æ system product line, which uses cellular technology to deliver fixed residential and business telephone service.

The mobility of an RDV enables service providers in China to deliver a cellular system to a remote location and immediately begin providing temporary service for special events, network expansions and emergency services, for example.

The RDV is a self-contained wireless local loop system. Integrated into the RDV system is a Network Interface Unit that provides local switching and connects the RDV directly into a landline network.

Russian Steps
Qualcomm has become one of the few cdmaOne suppliers to break into the European market with the commercial launch of a CDMA wireless local loop network in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. This follows the deployment of a CDMA WLL system in Chelyabinsk and current installation of a similar system in Moscow.
The new network, operated by Electrosviaz of Rostov Region, will initially serve 2,000 users and will be expanded to serve 20,000 residents and businesses in the Rostov region under the terms of the multi-year contract with Qualcomm.

At the CDMA European Regional Congress in London recently, Igor Karalyev of Rostov briefly outline the history of the network, on which the first call came only 42 days after installation began. The mobile application of the system is being studied too, he pointed out — and there are even negotiations in train for a Russian CDMA association.