Nortel (Northern Telecom) launches CDMA digital wireless solutions with first commercial rollouts in Sprint PCS network

March 3, 1997

SAN FRANCISCO -- With the launch of five markets for Sprint PCS in February, Nortel (Northern Telecom) has put its first CDMA digital wireless networks into commercial service, with more to come in the near future.

Nortel is demonstrating its complete portfolio of digital network solutions for mobile and fixed wireless applications -- including CDMA, TDMA, GSM and CDPD -- this week at Wireless '97, the 12th annual convention of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).

Nortel 1900 MHz CDMA PCS networks are serving Sprint PCS subscribers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Des Moines, Iowa; and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

"It's exciting anytime you have the opportunity to participate in the rollout of new technology," said Mike Ennis, group vice president and general manager, Wireless Networks, Nortel. "With over 1,500 CDMA base stations in service, we're proving the advantages of our CDMA solution for operators and subscribers alike."

Nortel is building 800 and 1900 MHz CDMA digital wireless networks for such customers as Sprint PCS, AirTouch, BC TEL Mobility and Bell Mobility which will ultimately reach more than 60 million potential subscribers in 28 North American cities.

Nortel's unique CDMA digital network solutions include six-way multicasting for soft hand-off implementation and remote radio frequency front end (RFFE) capability.

With six-way multicasting, Nortel's CDMA Base Station Controller (BSC) can reserve up to six cells or cell sectors for immediate access by a CDMA mobile telephone for soft hand-off. This eliminates the extra messaging required to tune the mobile to the desired cell or cell sector. The result is fast, reliable and high-quality hand-offs.

Remote RFFE provides unique installation flexibility by allowing operators to locate the RFFE -- which houses transmit, receive and amplification equipment -- up to 600 feet from the Base Transceiver Station (BTS). This reduces signal loss from the antenna and increases the RF link budget, allowing operators to realize a savings of up to 30 percent in the number of conventional CDMA cell sites required.

These advantages are backed by Nortel's DMS-MTX, one of the highest-capacity wireless switching systems in the industry. The DMS-MTX wireless switch includes integrated HLR, VLR and IS-41 capability. It supports AMPS, TDMA IS-136 and CDPD access technology, in addition to CDMA, for ease of network migration.

Nortel's CDMA BSC is designed to match the capacity of the DMS-MTX, allowing an operator to support a large subscriber base with one switch and one BSC. It offers one of the highest backhaul capacities in the industry -- typically, more than 90 voice channels of traffic using a 13 kbps vocoder over a single T1 link. It also uses ATM to route CDMA voice and data packets to and from the BTS, facilitating fast, reliable soft hand-offs.

The Nortel exhibit at Wireless '97 includes a live demonstration of CDMA Short Message Service, which allows subscribers to use their mobile phones for paging and text messaging applications as well as for voice calls.