Motorola and Sun Microsystems have signed a 10-year agreement to develop and build an open, IP-based wireless networking infrastructure for the telecoms industry, extending the existing relationship between the two companies.
The telecoms company will drive the development, investing up to $1 billion in Sun software, plus hardware from the Motorola computer group, in the architecture.
Motorola officials said the joint development will focus on enhancing the reliability and availability of wireless networks, with particular emphasis on improving security and minimising downtime. Products will be targeted at top-tier base station operators, call processing controllers and back office processing and central office operations.
The first fruits of the alliance are expected to hit the market next year, with volume shipments likely to begin in 2001.
Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive of Sun, claimed the agreement would spur innovation in the wireless communications industry.
He said: 'It's about moving from the old way of developing and maintaining wireless networks, characterised by high maintenance costs, limited features and limited access, towards a model that opens up the entire industry to greater innovation.'
A representative at Motorola said the alliance would place it in a good position to migrate customers such as BT Cellnet and Airtouch from voice networks to data and Web-based technologies.
He said: 'There are very few wireless internet-based service providers, but over the next few years there will be an increasing number moving that way and this technology will fit in perfectly with their strategies.'
Officials from the two companies stressed that the deal was non-exclusive, with other hardware vendors likely to be involved in development of the infrastructure.
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