Industry Canada opens door to beefed up FRSIndustry Canada has assigned additional frequencies in the 462-467 MHz range to accommodate the introduction to the Canadian market of general mobile radio service (GMRS) devices. GMRS radios are similar to family radio service (FRS) devices that were introduced in Canada in 2000 (RoW, April 17/00), but offer greater coverage. The department reports in DGTP-001-04 that opening spectrum for FRS has resulted in the sale of more than two million devices and that it expects the same type of success for GMRS. Offering additional channels in this range for GMRS aligns spectrum utilization policies in Canada with those set out by the Federal Communications Commission. “The reality is that Canadians will demand these new wireless radios and in the absence of a policy which permits GMRS distribution and sale, a gray market of illegal GMRS radios would emerge,” the department writes.RIM and Good come to terms on agreementResearch in Motion Ltd. and Good Technology have settled their patent and licensing dispute. The two companies inked an agreement on March 26 that will also dismiss a series of lawsuits. As part of the deal, the two companies have entered into a royalty-bearing licence agreement whereby RIM will receive a lump sum settlement during the first fiscal quarter of 2005. RIM will also receive quarterly royalty payments going forward. Financial terms of the settlement were not revealed. RIM continues to fight a patent infringement case in the United States against NTP Inc. NEWT expands test facility capabilities and international presenceThe Network for Emerging Wireless Technologies (NEWT) has expanded the breadth of its technology testing capabilities by incorporating mobile services delivery into its array of verification services. The test and verification lab gains the added capability through the purchase of the Hornet server from Contec Innovations. The implementation of the Hornet Developer Edition product into the lab’s facilities marks a first step in a series of worldwide development centres NEWT plans to unveil. To that end, the testing house inked a collaborative agreement with the National University of Singapore’s Java Wireless Competency Centre. The two groups will work to promote co-development, testing, technology commercialization, scientific exchange and training. Spectrum Signal to raise $3 million in private placementSpectrum Signal Processing Inc. will receive a $3-million infusion of cash following a private placement of more than 2.2 million units. The company announced on March 23 that it had completed the transaction. Each unit will be sold for $1.35 and will consist of one common share and one half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant allows the holder to purchase one common share for $1.50 for a period of 18 months following the closing date of the private placement. Proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the company’s restructuring efforts and for general corporate purposes. Last year, the Burnaby BC-based firm announced it was no longer going to invest in its Voice over Packet division and was trying to sell it. Sinclair launches systems divisionSinclair Technologies Inc. says there is growing demand for customized antenna combining systems and so has created the Sinclair Systems division to meet the increasing demand. The new division will address custom antenna systems in the VHF, UHF and 700-900 MHz bands. “Sinclair Systems expands our ability to deliver custom antenna combining systems and related consulting and field technical support to our customers, including those that purchase products directly from Sinclair’s Systems Certified distribution partners,” Sinclair’s president and CEO David Ralston said in a news release received by Report on Wireless and not yet posted on the company’s web site. ATI teams with Qualcomm on wireless gamingToronto-based ATI Technologies Inc. has teamed up with Qualcomm Inc. to collaborate on technology development for the next generation of wireless games. The two companies will strive to develop the next-gen 3D wireless gaming platform, they said at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association show in Atlanta last week. As an initial part of the agreement, Qualcomm will integrate into its baseband chips ATI’s Imageon mobile graphics architecture. By integrating the two technologies, Qualcomm’s manufacturing partners will have access to a proven 3D multimedia hardware solution and allows them to develop more feature-rich games for the mobile environment.INTERNATIONAL NEWSAlcatel releases GPS server for GSM networksAlcatel S.A. is taking another step towards enabling mass-market location-based services. The France-based company announced earlier this month that the Alcatel 8607 A-GPS is now generally available for purchase. The company also indicated that its server is compatible with Qualcomm’s location-based services offering, meaning that a wide variety of handset manufacturers will be able to offer this added functionality to their wireless carrier partners. Alcatel reports in the media release that trials with European operators have proven successful. Long distance calls increasingly wireless, says Yankee GroupA new survey by the Yankee Group shows that household long distance calls are increasingly coming from cell phones. According to the report 2003 TAF Survey Findings Highlight the Consumer Market’s Competitive Challenges, wireless usage is accelerating the decline of landline minutes of use and 43% of U.S. household long distance calls are made on wireless phones. “Although the number of U.S. households that have totally cut the wireline voice cord remains small, 50% of wireless households report their wireless usage has replaced some, a significant amount or all of their regular telephone usage,” reads a March 23 news release. “As the lines between wireline and wireless product definitions blur, an undeniable connection can be traced between the mobility’s expanding product scope and a decline in wireline usage,” Katie Griffin, a senior Yankee Group analyst for consumer technologies and services, said in the same news release.