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The Mobitex industry is looking at the possibilities for using GPRS mobile technology to complement the narrowband wireless data technology’s strengths and provide wider coverage.

“We need to be realistic about where other technologies fit in,” said Steven Metlitzky, CEO of Wavenet Technology, speaking at the Mobitex Association conference...

The Mobitex industry is looking at the possibilities for using GPRS mobile technology to complement the narrowband wireless data technology’s strengths and provide wider coverage.

“We need to be realistic about where other technologies fit in,” said Steven Metlitzky, CEO of Wavenet Technology, speaking at the Mobitex Association conference in New York. “It’s crucial Mobitex engages with other technologies like GPRS, Bluetooth, WiFi and CDMA. They might sound like dirty words but we’re going to be pretty lonely if we don’t.”

Wavenet is already producing the Wombat framework which combines GPRS with Mobitex.

US network operator Velocita Wireless is working with at least one carrier to integrate the technologies.

“We are increasingly seeing the need to integrate emerging technology into our network,” said Richard Donnelly, v-p of network and engineering at Velocita. “We have a very large network by Mobitex standards and with 2.5G the coverage is substantially more. You can use either technology or both so if one is not available, then use the other.”

Donnelly said Mobitex boosts the robustness of GPRS while GPRS provides extra bandwidth.

However, Daoud Serang, v-p of marketing at CML Microcircuits, is not convinced about combining the technologies. “Obviously two networks are better than one as each does some things better than the other, but there are other issues such as costs,” said Serang.

BT Transcomm does not intend to go down this route either, but is offering GPRS alongside Mobitex.

“I see us becoming a hybrid operator but we won’t be selling both in one device. I don’t see them as overlap technologies,” said Kevin McNulty, CEO of Transcomm.

“Some of our customers, those not interested in the mission critical aspect of Mobitex, will migrate to GPRS,” he said.

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