Motorola’s Global Telecom Solutions operation in Cork, which employs over 550 people, has been selected as a centre of excellence aimed at driving the evolution of iDEN (integrated digitally enhanced network) technology – otherwise known as ‘push ‘n talk’ – amongst mobile operators.
The vice president and general manager of the operational systems support division of the Global Telecom Solutions Sector, Tom Shirley, was in Cork today to oversee some of the work that takes place at the facility, which is one of only three such centres in the world. The Cork operation was established 22 years ago and growth accelerated during the 1990s to the present employment level where 95pc of the employees are college graduates. The operation provides the network management and support among mobile operators for GSM, GPRS and CDMA technologies as well as 3G technologies like EDGE and UMTS.
Shirley confirmed to siliconrepublic.com that Motorola has moved responsibility for iDEN to Cork to operate as a centre of excellence for the rollout to operators throughout the world. “The centre will work with two similar teams in Illinois as well as software teams in Israel, India, China and Malaysia,” he said. “Cork is the largest of three groups in the Global Telecom Solutions Sector group at Motorola and we have 40 engineers working specifically on the next generation of radio access network technology.”
Shirley acknowledged that a considerable amount of activity in the 3G sector is taking place alongside 2.5G technologies. “Operators are trying to manage costs and expenses and a lot of the work we do at the centre in Cork is to help them to minimise operational expenditure.” He added that this is becoming more and more complex as traditional mobile technologies like GSM are overlaid with 2.5G and 3G systems as well as advanced new content services aimed at generating revenue.
“In the first advent of 3G, it was similar to the dotcom bubble and the industry suffered a downturn accordingly. This time around, mobile operators are much more focused on profits and how to reduce operational and capital expenditure,” Shirley said.
“Motorola invented the ‘push ‘n talk’ technology in the 1940s with the walkie-talkie and digital evolutions of it like iDEN and similar security-encrypted networks like TETRA are extremely relevant to Motorola’s vision going forward.”
He continued: “Now ‘push ‘n talk’ has progressed and operators in the US and eventually Europe have picked up the technology as it is popular amongst consumers. The attraction of the technology is that it only requires a little modification to the existing GSM or CDMA network and new handset. It’s a sector gaining a lot of momentum,” he said.
Earlier this week, Motorola revealed plans to separate its semiconductor operations into a stand-alone publicly traded company to take advantage of a perceived upswing in the microprocessor market. The company’s Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS) employs an additional 44 skilled design engineers in Cork designing and developing chipsets for the next generation of mobile devices.
By John Kennedy