Qualcomm, LG strike deal to develop P2T handsets

Qualcomm has entered into an agreement with LG Electronics to develop push-to-talk handsets based on Qualcomm's BREWChat solution. According to Qualcomm, BREWChat uses standard voice-over-IP technology to enable P2T functionality on 3G CDMA wireless devices.

FCC certifies coordinators of special frequencies

The FCC has certified the Industrial Telecommunications Association as a frequency coordinator for the Part 90 929-930 MHz paging frequencies and the Special Emergency frequencies below 512 MHz. ITA had filed the request for certification in mid-2002. The FCC also certified the American Mobile Telecommunications Association as a coordinator in the bands. Before the ruling, the Personal Communication Industry Association was the only certified coordinator for the 900 MHz paging frequencies, and PCIA and the International Municipal Signal Association/International Association of Fire Chiefs were certified exclusively as the coordinators for the former Special Emergency Radio Service.

Nokia to deploy TETRA radio network in Kuwait

Nokia Networks will deploy a TETRA radio system in the State of Kuwait, which will be used by public-safety agencies. Atlas Communications, a value-added reseller for Nokia that previously deployed TETRA systems in the region — in Dubai and Bahrain — will implement the deployment. Equipment deliveries will begin early in the second half of 2004, Nokia said, with the first phase of the system scheduled to be operational by the end of the year. The entire network is scheduled to be in operation by mid-2005.

RELM wins fire certification

The National Interagency Fire Center has certified RELM Wireless's DPH portable radios manufactured under the BK Radio brand for use in wildfire scenarios. The certification enables more federal agencies to purchase the radios, which are compliant with the APCO Project 25 standard, RELM said. The U.S. Forest Service and agencies within the U.S. Department of the Interior, including the National Park Service, are among the entities that have used BK Radio handsets, according to the company.

Nextel unveils international Direct Connect service

Nextel Communications introduced International Direct Connect walkie-talkie service that it claimed would provide “under-a-second” digital push-to-talk connections between the U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Peru, as well as between the U.S. and Canada. Data services including mobile e-mail, two-way messaging and wireless Web access also are available. The service will be provided via a partnership with NII Holdings, which provides mobile communications services to business customers in Latin America, and Telus Mobility, which provides wireless voice and data communications across Canada.

Wal-Mart begins RFID trial

Wal-Mart has begun field tests of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology at seven “Supercenters” and one regional distribution area in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The product manufacturers participating in the trial include Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods, Nestle Purina PetCare, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Initially 21 products will be included in the test; each Supercenter typically stocks 100,000 products, Wal-Mart said, adding that it is targeting 100% readability of pallet tags through dock doors and 100% readability of case tags on distribution center conveyor belts.

In other news, Sun Microsystems has opened an RFID test center in Dallas. The facility will enable companies to simulate RFID deployments and perform full-scale compliance testing, Sun Microsystems said. The facility is designed to provide a controlled environment that replicates the conditions found in an actual distribution center or warehouse. In related news, Sun Microsystems announced an RFID solution developed jointly with consultancy Capgemini and designed to help retailers and consumer-packaged-goods companies comply with RFID mandates. The end-to-end solution includes hardware, software and consulting services, the companies said.

M/A-COM wins $1 billion tower contract

M/A-COM was awarded a contract worth more than $1 billion to construct a network of radio towers that will cover about 95% of New York State's landmass, the New York Times has reported. M/A-COM's winning bid was less than half the estimated $3 billion bid submitted by Motorola, which indicated it would contest the award, the paper said. The towers will be able to withstand hurricane-force winds and ice storms, and will be equipped with backup generators to withstand lengthy power outages, the Times said. New York was one of seven Northeastern states and two Canadian provinces affected by the August 2003 blackout.

Motorola to deploy TETRA network in Central Asia

Motorola has been chosen to deploy a Dimetra TETRA network to be used by the Special State Protection Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which is located north of Iran on the Caspian Sea. Implementation will begin in the second quarter of 2004 and is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year, Motorola said. Government and public-safety entities will be the primary users. The network will serve “up to several thousand users when fully deployed,” according to Motorola. It was chosen for its ability to support both encrypted and non-encrypted users on the same network, the company said. Though the network offers integrated voice and data, it will be used initially to improve voice communications.

Radio IP Software chosen for statewide network

The South Carolina Palmetto 800 Network will deploy Radio IP Software's Mobility Manager and Mobile TCP/IP Gateway as part of an upgrade designed to expand the reach of the network and the number of public-safety agencies, major utilities and healthcare organizations using it, the vendor said. The network is owned and operated by Motorola in partnership with state agencies and local governments.

APCO welcomes executive director

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International has named John Newman as its executive director. Newman comes to APCO from Matsushita Communication Industrial Corporation of America, where he was vice president and COO, responsible for administration, human resources, marketing, contracts, intellectual property and legal compliance. Before that experience, he served as vice president of Matsushita Automotive, Mexico.

Florida dispatch center adopts APCO program

The Regional Public Safety Communications Center in Port Orange, Fla., recently implemented the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International's Emergency Medical Dispatch Program. As part of the program, 27 full-time and two part-time telecommunications officers working for the RCC — which provides police and fire dispatch services to the cities of Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater, Fla., as well as fire dispatch service to the city of Ponce Inlet, Fla. — attended APCO's Basic Telecommunicator and Basic EMD courses. The training was conducted by APCO certified instructors Tracey Hills and Darlene Saltsman.

Airnet lands base station orders worth $3 million

Airnet Communications announced it has received purchase orders worth $3 million from TECORE Wireless to provide its AdaptaCell BTS 4000 software-defined base station, AirSite Backhaul Free base station and related common equipment to three deployments in the Middle East and Africa. The orders represent the first international deployments of the AdaptaCell BTS 4000 product line, Airnet said.

In other news, Airnet announced it raised $5.5 million by selling about 6 million shares of its stock at $0.9075 per share to private investors. The investors also received a five-and-a-half year warrant to purchase an additional 3 million shares at an exercise price of $1.32 per share.

SDR Forum connects with Europe's Project E2R

The Software Defined Radio Forum has entered into a formal relationship with the European Union's Project E2R [End-to-End Reconfigurability] via which the two organizations will exchange technical information and form workshops to develop reconfigurable wireless devices. Project E2R is a consortium of vendors, operators, academia and regulators working toward creating the architecture that would be required to achieve end-to-end reconfigurability. The SDR Forum is a U.S.-based organization with more than 100 members working to develop and deploy software-defined radio systems.