European Forum Aims to Influence Wireless Research

Four European mobile telecommunications infrastructure manufacturers are hoping to influence the course of future research in their field with the creation on Monday of the Wireless World Research Forum.

The forum will meet regularly to formulate visions on strategic future research in the wireless field, the four companies said in a joint statement. The forum's work will be presented to the European Commission in a workshop at the end of next year "so that this information might be used by the Commission in the definition of future research projects," said Vinod Kumar, director of research at Alcatel SA, one of the four companies behind the group. However, the group doesn't pretend to direct the Commission's decisions, it merely offers the information for the Commission to do with as it will, Kumar said.

In May, Alcatel, along with L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., Nokia Corp. and Siemens AG, formed another group, the Wireless Strategic Initiative (WSI), which invited a think-tank of around 20 experts to discuss themes for strategic research in wireless communications. The think-tank met three times this year, and will present its findings in a meeting at the Commission on Dec. 12.

The four companies hope to build on this year's work by opening up the think-tank to a wider membership of around 100 and renaming it the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF). Initially, the WWRF will still be part of the earlier initiative, the WSI, which is funded by the European Commission as a project of the Information Society Technologies program of the European Union. After one year, Kumar said, the group would vote on whether to separate the activities of the Initiative and the Forum.

Because the new Forum is much larger than its predecessor, it will be forced to meet as a number of different working groups, he said, perhaps including groups to study technology, marketing and regulatory aspects of the industry.

The WWRF will cooperate with the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) Forum, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and other relevant bodies on commercial and standardization matters arising from the research, the founders said in a joint statement.

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