ERA, NEC set up UMTS firm

ERA, NEC set up UMTS firm
Melanie Reynolds ERA Technology and NEC have set up a company to develop technology for the UMTS third generation mobile phone standard. Called Telecom Modus, the company will develop UMTS basestation sub-systems for the sole use of NEC. It is expected to employ 100 staff, mainly engineers and technicians, by the year 2000 and will be located in Leatherhead, Surrey. By linking with ERA, NEC gains access to the UK company’s expertise in such areas as software radios and smart antennas which can increase the number of mobile users in a given cell. Telecom Modus will be independent from ERA. The capabilities of ERA will be used to develop the technology and NEC will use the results to manufacture products. NEC believes that the service providers will set the timescale for adoption of UMTS. “We wanted to move to be able to supply systems when it [UMTS] goes into operation,” said an NEC spokesman. NEC is seeking to become a major supplier of next-generation mobile communications systems in Europe and the Far East. Japan has already adopted a wideband CDMA standard which will be compatible with UMTS. The UMTS standard, expected in 2001, will offer a wireless communications system allowing real multimedia data transmission at data rates of up to 2Mbit/s.


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