Motorola to base GPRS centre in Germany

As part of its development of GPRS (general packet radio services) for its mobile data network, US communications firm Motorola is building a worldwide GPRS centre in Berlin, the company announced yesterday.

"The centre should be fully operational by the forth quarter," said Motorola's UK spokeswoman, Beth Sharples. The first phase of the centre will accommodate 40 employees specialising in the packet data technology, Sharples added.

GPRS is a technology which enables mobile terminals to remain permanently connected to the internet, and transmit data at five to 10 times the speed of current transfer rates.

The GPRS centre is part of a 20 million euro ($US18.9 million) investment Motorola announced in June of last year for the construction of a new high-tech manufacturing base in Berlin, though Sharples declined to say how much money is being invested specifically in the GPRS centre.

Motorola already has GPRS development and integration projects in Swindon, UK; Cork, Ireland; Madrid, Chicago and Vancouver, Canada. The Berlin centre will be the hub for all of the company's GPRS work and will focus on interoperability testing for GPRS networks, Sharples said.

Motorola has entered into a number of GPRS deals with telecommunication companies. UK mobile phone operator BT Cellnet, a subsidiary of British Telecommunications PLC (BT) plans to launch what it bills as the world's first GPRS service on June 26, using Motorola's GPRS core network. The service will initially be for the corporate market, according to BT.

Furthermore, as part of a deal with Deutsche Telekom AG's mobile subsidiary, T-Mobil GmbH, Motorola is working on upgrading the company's core network to support high-speed packet data services. Within the next two months, Motorola's Network Solutions Sector (NSS) will supply T-Mobile with a nationwide GPRS core network system, Sharples confirmed.

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