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(Updated on April 11, 2000)


Motorola and Nokia go for still another wireless technology standard.

The companies decided last week to standardize a new technology from Motorola called "1Xtreme," a wireless transmission method capable of handling voice and high-speed Internet access for future wireless networks. The technology standard goes head on against Qualcomm who is promoting High Date Rate, or HDR, technology as a wireless voice and Internet delivery means.

Both Motorola's and Qualcomm's technologies are so-called third generation, or "3G," wireless technology. 1Xtreme will compete directly with Qualcomm's HDR technology, which was unveiled last year. The difference between the two is that Qualcomm's technology separates Internet traffic to a different channel. Proponents say it gives that traffic a distinct path, while critics believe that it adds a separate network that is unnecessary.

Qualcomm's CDMA systems can deliver data at a slow 14.4 kbps (kilobits per second), hardly conducive to advanced Internet applications. But most CDMA-based wireless service providers are expected to begin upgrading their digital networks next year to 3G systems capable of delivering data at 144 kbps. Those systems also are expected to double carriers' voice capacity.

Motorola-Nokia technology is slated for commercial service in 2002.

Mobile Advisory and Comments: We understand the motivation for Motorola to come up with yet another standard. Ericsson-Qualcomm camp is Motorola's major competitor. However, we can not comment on the merits of the new standard in terms of efficiency and performance of  scarce bandwidth. You do need another heavy weight in this tug-of-war. Notwithstanding this need, network service providers will have to make a choice. More importantly,  life for smart phone manufacturers, switching equipment manufacturers (Cisco and others) and communications middleware developers like Phone.Com and Nettech becomes more difficult since they must support multiple standards.

We are sure that Motorola-Nokia team will provide development tools to assist device, router and switching vendors to adapt to their technology.

Should there be a separate channel or network for voice and Internet data traffic, as Qualcomm's HDR does? We think that it is a good idea. Dedication and allocation of network capacity at channel level is better strategy than bundling it together if you do not know traffic patterns accurately and can add capacity very quickly. Quality of Service (QOS) is the issue.  It may be possible to do so with wireline networks - not so with wireless networks. But it must be possible with Qualcomm approach to switch channels from one traffic type to another dynamically even though it is not automatically.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.

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