Business Biefs

Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group said it is providing support for two Chinese carriers as they expand their networks. Siemens is expanding China Unicom’s GSM network in Shanghai, Guangxi and Liaoning. The company also is equipping China Unicom’s Shanghai network with technology for location-based services and expanding its prepaid systems countrywide. For China Mobile, Siemens is expanding the carrier’s GSM networks in Shanghai, Anhui, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan. Both expansion projects should be completed by the end of March.

Optimi Inc. said it has acquired the software assets and customer base of RF Consulting, which provides GSM optimization solutions. “Optimi continues a strategy of technological and geographic expansion through a combination of internal innovation and acquisition,” said David Bagley, chief operating officer of Optimi. Optimi recently bought Agilent’s Wizard wireless products division.

Sierra Wireless’ new Voq Professional Phone will use Advanced Recognition Technologies Inc.’s smARTspeak NG engine for digit dialing, voice tag dialing and commands. “The Voq Professional Phone is designed to provide the mobile professional with the ultimate phone experience. By combining ART’s smARTspeak NG voice dialer, Voq users will benefit from industry leading voice command capabilities and compelling dialing support for hands-free operation,” said Andrew Harries, senior vice president marketing for Sierra Wireless. The handset is expected to be available the first half of 2004.

Starhome BV, a subsidiary of Comverse Technology Inc., has secured $20 million in equity financing. The funding was led by Apax Partners Funds. “We believe having the confidence and support of well-respected technology investors may help to bolster our already growing reputation as the choice for delivering advanced roaming technology and solutions to mobile operators,” said Shahar Florence, chief executive officer of Starhome.

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