Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) announced today plans to support key features outlined in the TIA/EIA-95-B standard, commonly referred to as IS-95-B, on its cdmaOne™ infrastructure platform. Qualcomm is actively involved in the ongoing definition and refinement of the IS-95-B standard, which is currently being balloted by the standards bodies. The IS-95-B updates are intended to improve the performance of cdmaOne systems and to increase data speeds that can be offered to end-users. Qualcomm has begun development efforts to ensure that key IS-95-B features will be available to cdmaOne operators in the near-term: support of Medium Data Rates (MDR), further improvements in soft handoffs and interfrequency hard handoffs, and enhancements to system access (call setup).
"In keeping with our goal to rapidly provide operators with the most advanced CDMA features, such as data services, as well as to maximize CDMA technology performance through ongoing enhancements to our infrastructure products, Qualcomm is proud to announce plans to offer IS-95-B features beginning in early 1999." said John Major, president of Qualcomm's wireless infrastructure division. "Especially significant to operators is Qualcomm's support of medium data rates, which will allow CDMA operators to offer wireless data speeds up to 57.6 Kbps, and even higher speeds as the demand for data services grows."
One of the most valuable IS-95-B improvements is the ability to provide CDMA data rates higher than the 14.4 Kbps currently supported on Qualcomm's CDMA systems. The IS-95-B specifications have been written so that manufacturers of subscriber units and infrastructure equipment can potentially support data rates of up to 115 Kbps. This leap in data speeds is attained by aggregating up to eight CDMA traffic channels for data transmission (8 x 14.4 Kbps = 115.2 Kbps). While data rates of 115 Kbps will be possible with the IS-95-B standard, Qualcomm anticipates that operator requirements will initially warrant support of data rates between 28.8 Kbps and 57.6 Kbps on the forward link, and 14.4 Kbps on the reverse link. The forward link refers to data being received by the mobile, while the reverse link refers to data being sent from the mobile. The reason for this asymmetric support comes from the industry understanding that mobile users generally receive more data than they send over the air. This concept can be understood within the context of browsing the World Wide Web or downloading e-mail, where the amount of data downloaded is usually much greater than the amount of data being sent out.
Soft handoff improvements as a part of IS-95-B will mean even more capacity for cdmaOne systems, particularly those systems that serve dense urban environments, where soft handoff ratios tend to be higher. Soft handoff is employed when a mobile is in communication with more than one base stationas it moves from one cell coverage area to another. IS-95A soft handoff algorithms already provide transparent and reliable handoffs for mobile users, and contribute to the clarity of voice and data calls on cdmaOne systems today. IS-95-B soft handoff algorithms will maintain the same performance and voice quality as IS-95A, and will increase system capacity for operators by requiring that fewer traffic channels be reserved for soft handoff.
This increase in capacity is accomplished by making the system's criteria for soft handoffs more rigid. IS-95-B sets a threshold for initiating soft handoffs based on the current strengths of the signals from base stations that are in soft handoff with the mobile. The reduced number of channels required for soft handoffs will make cdmaOne systems even more spectrally-efficient, contributing to operator revenues by allowing even more subscribers to utilize the network.
Qualcomm will also, as part of IS-95-B, improve the algorithms associated with interfrequency (inter-carrier) hard handoffs. CDMA operators have begun to utilize additional 1.25 MHz carriers in high traffic areas of their networks to provide additional capacity. When the mobile user's signal is transferred from one CDMA carrier to another, an interfrequency hard handoff is performed. The IS-95-B specification includes an improvement referred to as Mobile Assisted Hard Handoff (MAHO). This change to the IS-95 specification will allow mobiles themselves to assist in the handoff process from one CDMA carrier to another, thereby making the success rate of such handoffs even better than it is today.
Access improvements will also be supported by Qualcomm as specified in IS-95-B standards. To accommodate fast changing propagation environments, IS-95-B provides a more robust call set-up process, thereby increasing the success rate of access attempts on cdmaOne systems. The IS-95-B standard will improve the call set-up process by making more provisions for mobiles accessing the system during soft handoffs. cdmaOne operators will benefit from improvements in performance of their CDMA systems.
Qualcomm expects these key IS-95-B features to be commercially available on its infrastructure in early 1999. Qualcomm is also conducting parallel development to support key IS-95-B features on its subscriber products, ensuring that Qualcomm can offer operators total system solutions with advanced features and services.
As the developer of CDMA technology, Qualcomm continues to demonstrate its expertise in maximizing the performance of CDMA technology across its broad range of infrastructure products. Built from the ground up for CDMA networks, Qualcomm products perform more efficiently due to innovations such as superior link budgets and handoff algorithms, delivering the highest air link capacity in the industry. Ultimately, these advantages allow operators to deploy CDMA systems with fewer cell sites and lower capital costs.
Headquartered in San Diego, Qualcomm develops, manufactures, markets, licenses and operates advanced communications systems and products based on its proprietary digital wireless technologies. The Company's primary product areas are the OmniTRACS® system (a geostationary satellite-based, mobile communications system providing two-way data and position reporting services), CDMA wireless communications systems and products and, in conjunction with others, the development of the Globalstar™ low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communications system. Other Company products include the Eudora Pro™ electronic mail software, ASIC products, and communications equipment and systems for government and commercial customers worldwide. For more information on Qualcomm products and technologies, please visit the Company's web site at http://www.qualcomm.com.
Except for the historical information contained herein, this news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including timely product development and commercial implementation of the Company's products, as well as the other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports, including the report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 28, 1997 and most recent Form 10-Q.
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