LOS ANGELES —
Bell Atlantic Mobile, a pioneer in the commercialization of the world's fastest-growing digital wireless technology, today announced it will begin phased introduction of new high- speed wireless data capabilities over its existing cdmaOneTM network in 1999. The next-generation wireless services are based on cdma2000 third generation (3G) enhancements provided by Lucent Technologies.
The announcement was made at the CDMA Americas Congress, meeting here this week. The cdmaOne digital wireless standard employs code division multiple access (CDMA) to offer wireless phone users near- landline voice clarity and a "soft handoff" of mobile calls that is virtually unnoticeable as compared with analog and other digital cellular technologies.
Bell Atlantic Mobile operates one of the world's most geographically- expansive cdmaOne networks, primarily on Lucent equipment. An early adopter of CDMA technology, Bell Atlantic Mobile implemented the standard following an extensive field trial conducted with Lucent's Bell Laboratories research and development arm in the early 1990s. Since then Bell Atlantic Mobile has expanded its CDMA network to cover 90 percent of the people in its geography and introduced its popular SingleRate digital pricing plans.
"With Lucent as our technology partner, we intend to make the most of our investment to enhance the quality, reliability and data-carrying capacity of our DigitalChoicesm cdmaOne service, said Ted Hoffman, vice-president of Technology Development. "Together, we will bring these services to market on today's commercial platforms, not tomorrow's experimental systems."
The cdma2000 technology takes advantage of the commercially-successful cdmaOne digital format. It combines radio spectrum to create a larger "pipe" for voice and data trasmissions and can co-exist with the current cdmaOne network. This 5 MHz multi-carrier scheme will allow Bell Atlantic Mobile to simultaneously serve current customers, yet will cost- effectively support mobile data rates nearly eight times faster than today's modems.
"Backward compatibility to existing cdmaOne is the linchpin for delivering these advanced services, and that's why we intend to deploy cdma2000 capabilities in our network," Hoffman said. Specifically, he said:
- Co-existence of 2G and 3G network elements will be assured by components operating at chip rates that are exact multiples of the cdmaOne standard (Editor's Note: cdma2000 specifies 3.684 Mcps)
- Incremental investment in 3G capabilities can build a solid business case for such services with minimal financial and technical risk
- The advanced services can be provided in current spectrum
- Bell Atlantic Mobile will be able to geographically segment the market for these data services and maximize returns on its CDMA investment
Unlike other 3G proposals, Bell Atlantic Mobile customers will not have to surrender their current cdmaOne handsets when cdma2000 services become available. Following an extensive testing program involving the two companies, including Bell Laboratories developers, the technology enhancement will be performed with minimal upgrades to the Lucent- supplied base stations.
"This phase of evolution will allow us to introduce 3G data rate services quickly and at minimal cost while substantially increasing our current digital voice capacity within our existing spectrum. This will give us one of the most competitive cost structures in the world for wireless services, " Hoffman said.
"We are delighted to again collaborate with Bell Atlantic Mobile in pioneering the next generation of wireless," said David Poticny, vice president of wireless global standards for Lucent Technologies. "We fully support the imperative to begin implementing cdma2000 enhancements in order to help maximize Bell Atlantic Mobile's investment in CDMA, particularly its cost efficiency, spectrum utilization and quality -- all attributes that will carry forward into the next generation."
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 116,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 5.9 million customers and 7,500 employees from Maine to Georgia and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.
Lucent Technologies supplies mobile and fixed wireless communications systems that offer global service providers standards-based solutions for serving the information needs of consumers and enterprises. Headquartered in Murray Hill, NJ, Lucent designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, data networking systems, business telephone systems and microelectronic components. Bell Labs is the research and development arm for the company. For more information on Lucent Technologies, visit the company's web site at http://www.lucent.com.
cdmaOne is a trademark of the CDMA Development Group