Siemens, Omnipoint to Develop Wireless IP Apps

Siemens AG today said it has formed a venture with Colorado-based wireless communications company Omnipoint Technologies Inc. to develop applications for wireless IP-based (Internet protocol-based) networks.

Under the agreement, Siemens' networking group will acquire a majority stake in Omnipoint's wireless IP-networks division for US$40.5 million [M], the companies said today in a statement. Omnipoint's remaining divisions -- Personal Communications Services Infrastructure Products and Wireless Solutions -- will remain independent. Omnipoint Technologies develops and supplies wireless communication technologies, products and engineering services.

The 130-person joint venture, to be based in Colorado Springs, will develop ways for corporate users of GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) phones to link up with a company IP network.

An IP network sends traffic in packets that are reassembled at their final destination, rather than via a dedicated telephone line. Increasing numbers of companies are moving towards sending both voice and data traffic over such networks, due to the cost savings of having one combined network.

One planned application from the venture will let corporate GSM users make inexpensive phone calls using voice-over-IP applications via their mobile GSM handsets, according to Harald Hassenmueller, press spokesman for Siemens Information and Communications Networking Group in Munich. Another such application will let GSM users access their corporate e-mail via their handsets, he said.

The new venture plans to bring its first products onto the market in about the second quarter of 2000, Siemens said.

Siemens has moved its focus from traditional telecommunications systems towards the data networking market over the past year. In March, the company acquired a number of small, U.S.-based data networking companies, and founded a Massachusetts-based company called Unisphere Solutions Inc. to develop end-to-end data networking applications.

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