YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesHITACHI-OWNED FIRM SETTLES IN SAN DIEGO TO BUILD TDMA PHONES

HITACHI-OWNED FIRM SETTLES IN SAN DIEGO TO BUILD TDMA PHONES

Southern California’s emergence as a burgeoning wireless hub was reinforced when yet another new telecom company, Kokusai Communications Systems Inc., opened its world headquarters last month in San Diego.

Kokusai Communications is the newest subsidiary of Kokusai Electric Co. Ltd., a Tokyo-based manufacturer of wireless communications and semiconductor equipment and member of Japanese giant, Hitachi Group-which owns 21 percent of Kokusai Electric.

Incorporated May 15 and located in the San Diego Tech Center, Kokusai Communications joins a growing list of Japanese manufacturers-including Sony Electric, Uniden and Nippondenso-which have recently established operations in the San Diego area.

Other major telecom players based in San Diego include Qualcomm Inc., Motorola Inc.’s Research and Development Group, Nokia Mobile Phones, NextWave Telecom Inc. and Pacific Communications Sciences Inc.

“Not only does San Diego offer our employees a high quality of life but the area itself has attracted a large community of wireless engineering and marketing professionals from which we will be able to recruit from to grow our company,” said Dan Beach, Kokusai Communications vice president for sales and marketing.

With 22 employees and plans to hire “very aggressively over the next two years,” Kokusai Communications President Dan Romano, a former R&D vice president at Nokia Mobile Phone’s San Diego offices, said the new company’s first major project will focus on developing and marketing a wireless phone using Time Division Multiple Access technology.

But according to Beach, while Kokusai Communications Systems is currently involved in the TDMA development, its parent company has branched out into other widely accepted technologies including the recent licensing of Motorola’s FLEX paging technology and Qualcomm’s Code Division Multiple Access technology. Kokusai Electric plans to introduce both CDMA handsets and FLEX paging products in the near future, Beach said, and the parent company also plans to develop a CDMA phone, primarily for the Japanese market. Initial CDMA research and development will take place at Kokusai Electric’s facility in Japan.

Kokusai Electric’s development team actually began work on the TDMA project two years ago. Although Kokusai Communications expects to be ready to produce its digital TDMA phone by early 1998, Beach said initial production will take place in Japan, with the company later to evaluate the eventual expansion of manufacturing operations into North America.

“Our vision is very simple,” said Kokusai Communications’ Romano. “We are committed to becoming the defining factor in customer expectation. Through investing in technology that is going to take us into the future and assembling the finest in world-class talented engineers and business professionals, we are confident our presence will be felt, and our leadership role will be established very quickly.”

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