Nortel sets its eyes on 'unique Israeli experiment'

Nortel sees Israel as an important market to see how the technologies play off each other.

As a provider of both CDMA and UMTS networks for the telecommunications sector, Nortel sees Israel as an important market to see how the two technologies play off of each other. "Through our contracts with [cellular providers] Pelephone and Partner Communications, which have deployed CDMA and UMTS respectively for their wireless networks, Israel is unique for us in that we have the two technologies competing in the same market," Simon Beard, VP of business relations for Europe, said in an interview. "We will therefore be able to assess if there is a real competitive edge in the technologies and what their commonalities are." CDMA (code division multiple access) networks are a low-cost and high-frequency method for transmitting simultaneous signals over a shared portion of a wireless spectrum. Pelephone is using Nortel's CDMA2000 1xVE-DO broadband wireless network as a base for its 3G platform. UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system) is a derivative of CDMA and provides service in the 2GHz band, offering global roaming and personalized features for the 3G wireless system. Partner has been using Nortel's UMTS network since 2003, and in May the two companies successfully completed a trial of high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) wireless broadband technology over its live cellular network in Tel Aviv. HSDPA is the next generation of UMTS, which allows for up to three times the rate of data downloads. With over 25 years of operations in Israel and approximately 200 employees there, the Airport City-based local operation works with both service providers and enterprises in implementing its solutions in the local market. "Israel is a very good market in which we have a strong presence," said Beard. "To an extent, we're saturated there and don't see major growth, but we view our contribution as part of a long term strategy." The company counts Cellcom, Bezeq and the Defense Ministry among its local customer base. An important cog in the Nortel Israel wheel has been CEO Sorin Lupu who has been at the head of the local operation since June 2004. In September this year, the company extended Lupu's responsibilities to include Russia and the new European Union states, in addition to his role as president of the Southeastern Europe Markets region and Israel, which he took on last year. AK