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#TBT: SMS used to combat SARS rumors; China Unicom launches 1X… this week in 2003

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

China Unicom launches 1x

BEIJING, China-China Unicom launched its cdma2000 1x nationwide in record time according to Qualcomm Inc. “With cdma20001x, China Unicom can offer its customers cost-effective, advanced voice and data wireless services, delivered by a wide range of feature-rich devices and applications,” said Irwin Jacobs, chief executive officer of Qualcomm. “We look forward to an exciting year of CDMA in China.”

Happy Birthday, cellular!

SAN JOSE, Calif.-The wireless industry today can take a minute to pat itself on the back as it looks back exactly 30 years ago to the very first time a call was placed using a portable cellular phone. Indeed, the call was made by then Motorola Inc. general manager Martin Cooper, who set the tone for the competitive business by dialing up rival AT&T Bell Labs. … Read more

Japanese mobile users interested in online shopping

TOKYO-More than 70 percent of NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode service users said they are using or would like to use online shopping services via i-mode, Info Plant Company, a leading online marketing firm said on Wednesday. The firm conducted the survey of 25,243 i-mode users in March. According to the survey, 35.2 percent of the surveyed replied they have used online shopping via i-mode and would like to use the service in the future. And 39.4 percent replied they would like to use the service in the future. Merely 22.3 percent replied they have not used the service so far and have no plans to use the service. The survey also revealed only 3.1 percent of the on-line shopping users said they had no plans to use the service in the future. … Read more

Russia gives Bluetooth the go-ahead

MOSCOW-The Russian Communications Ministry finally gave the go-ahead for Bluetooth technology to develop in the country, and satisfied producers and dealers are predicting a sales boom. The State Commission for Radio Frequencies (GKRCh) officially allowed Bluetooth to use the 2400-2483.5 MHz band. It cancelled permissions for each device and actually allowed use for all existing types of the equipment. However only transmitters with a range of 10 meters can be operated freely, while devices with a range of up to 100 meters are “subject to the existing provisions for the use of in-company data transmission systems in the 2400-2483.5 MHz band.” Practically all Bluetooth devices currently operate in a range of 30 meters. Bluetooth producers and dealers, which earlier had to resort to “shadow methods” in importing the devices to Russia, welcomed the GKRCh decision, although some said it is rather late. “All the devices that are currently on sale in this country have been brought in via gray channels. We have been looking forward for the restrictions to be lifted,” said Natalya Makarova from Siemens’ Moscow office. … Read more

SMS used to combat SARS rumors

BEIJING—Hong Kong is suffering from a mysterious illness called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). On 1 April, a rumor surfaced that the whole city would be quarantined and cut off from the outside world. This led to panic buying in supermarkets. To quickly quell the rumor, the city’s Information Services Department asked the city’s six mobile operators —Smartone, CSL, People’s, Hutchison, New World Mobility and Sunday—to send short text messages to their combined 6 million mobile-phone users. The South China Morning Post reported it took several hours to send the messages and added that not all users received them. It was the first time in history that text messages were sent on such a mass scale. … Read more

Nokia snags GPRS deal in Thailand

HELSINKI, Finland-Nokia said it will supply General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) equipment to Advanced Info Service (AIS) in Thailand. The value of the contract was not disclosed. Siemens announced a similar deal with AIS for GPRS equipment earlier this week. In addition, Nokia said it made a successful Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) call with Thai operator Total Access Communication (DTAC). The laboratory EDGE call is part of the first phase of a DTAC EDGE trial using Nokia equipment, the Finnish supplier said.

GoAmerica cuts jobs

HACKENSACK, N.J.-Wireless enterprise company GoAmerica Inc. announced it will further reduce its work force, news that comes as the company reported shrinking revenues due to its recent deal with EarthLink. “In light of the continued weakness in enterprise technology spending, we have implemented additional cost saving measures, including the consolidation of our facilities and additional staff reductions,” said Frank Elenio, GoAmerica’s chief financial officer. “Through these efforts and the anticipated growth of our margins, we expect to report continued improvement to our bottom line during 2003.” A GoAmerica spokesperson was not immediately available to provide details on the job cuts. GoAmerica’s fourth-quarter revenues clocked in at $6.8 million, down from the $9.1 million the company reported in the previous quarter. The company said the decline in revenue was primarily due to the previously announced sale of parts of its customer base to EarthLink. GoAmerica’s net loss for the quarter was $8.2 million, down from a net loss of $24.3 million in the previous quarter. … Read more

Get your Moto running

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.-Get your motor running … Head out on the highway! Motorola Inc. is looking to tap into the biker market through a new deal with motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, and will make a specialized chrome- or leather-styled mobile phone in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Harley-Davidson. The Motorola V60i, which features downloadable games and ring tones, will be sold through wireless activation and specialized distribution company American Wireless Inc. “Harley-Davidson recognizes that mobile phones were one of the leading lifestyle products purchased by consumers during 2002,” said Ruth Crowley, vice president of Harley-Davidson. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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