Wireless Wumors

Here’s another weekly roundup of industry gossip.

Nortel needs Asian help?
Analysts are mulling the prospect of Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) striking a partnership in Asia in an effort to boost its 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) success.

A research note from UBS AG claims that the Canadian incumbent vendor has only a 6 percent share of the UMTS equipment market, way off its goal of 25 percent.

“Recently, NT’s CEO stated that the company is committed to UMTS, but sees consolidation in the market given high R&D levels necessary to compete,” notes the report. “Our assessment of this statement & our discussions w/ industry contacts suggest that NT is likely to pursue a partnership w/ an Asian-based company to reduce its R&D... We believe such a partnership would be consistent w/ NT seeking to reduce its overall opex.”

Potential partners include Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). Nortel declined to comment.

Flarion curries favor
Fresh from its first commercial win at Finnish operator Digita Oy this week, a report now suggests Flarion Technologies is involved in an Indian trial (see Flarion Wins in Finland ).

This latest round of scuttlebutt involving the Flash-OFDM vendor states that a GSM carrier is trialing Flarion’s kit in the capital city of New Delhi.

Flarion won’t confirm any activity in India, but isn’t exactly denying it either. “We are active in many regions,” says EMEA marketing director, Joe Barrett.

Tedious-CDMA fails tests (again)
China’s plans to award 3G licences by the end of this year appear to have taken a blow with reports suggesting that local homegrown standard TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) has performed poorly in another set of tests.

Developed by the Chinese Academy of Telecommunications Technology, TD-SCDMA has been approved by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and combines older Time-Division Multiple Access (TDMA) with Time-Division Duplexing (TDD) techniques of broadcasting over a single chunk of spectrum, rather than the normal two bands (see TD-SCDMA Forum Joins 3GPP).

The Chinese government has been eagerly touting the benefits of this new technology over established rival 3G standards such as wideband CDMA and CDMA2000. Despite the push, early trials revealed a glut of teething problems such as interoperability issues and a dearth of compatible handsets. According to local newspaper reports this week, the technology is still struggling to support 3G applications such as multimedia messaging and video downloads; and interoperability among different devices remains a major problem.

This latest development will cause concern for the glut of network vendors staking a claim in the TD-SCDMA space (see Ericsson Bets on Chinese 3G, Nortel Teams on Chinese 3G, Huawei, Siemens Push 3G Deal, and Alcatel Tangos With Datang).

And finally...
A number of industry announcements have caught Unstrung’s attention this week. ArrayComm Inc. and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) finally confirmed details of their partnership for development of smart antenna technology based on the 802.16 standard, a deal initially touted at the end of last year (see ArrayComm, Intel Team on WiMax and ArrayComm Preps WiMax Move).

Meanwhile, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has at last announced another UMTS network win following a lone earlier deal at Portugese carrier Optimus Telecomunicacoes (see Moto Wins Euro 3G Deal). The U.S. vendor has scored a deployment at Taiwan carrier VIBO Telecom (see Moto Wins Taiwan UMTS Deal). Financial details were not disclosed.

Always one to keep ahead of its rivals, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) this week claimed to have achieved a downlink speed of 1 Gbit/s whilst moving at 20km per hour (see DoCoMo Achieves 1Gbit/s Downlink). DoCoMo says it used “Variable Spreading Factor Spread Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (VSFSOFDMLMNOP)” and MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology, touting the project as its latest effort to develop a "4G’" standard.


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