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No. 354, March 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Despite recent expansions, communications providers are having trouble staying ahead of the demand for transpacific Internet capacity. The coming transmission of video and other multimedia information via the Internet only adds to the problem. Last October, KDD CORP. upgraded its Japan-U.S. Internet backbone to 245 megabits per second from 135 Mbps. Now, INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC., which has a 90- Mbps backbone, says that it will match KDD's capacity, while JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. will have by this summer a 355-Mbps Japan-U.S. Internet backbone versus its current capacity of 45 Mbps.

Through a 155-Mbps transpacific ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) link, FUJITSU, LTD.'s globally managed network services operation, FENICS (Fujitsu's Enhanced Information and Communication Service), will be extended to North America by April. Its partner is Santa Clara, California- based FUJITSU SYSTEMS BUSINESS OF AMERICA, INC., the operator of the FANS (Fujitsu's Advanced Networking Solutions) service. Through the tie- up, business subscribers to FENICS or FANS will have a transparent connection between Japan and the United States and vice versa. Among the services available are frame relay, ATM, private line and virtual private network as well as remote network access and high-speed Internet connectivity. Monitoring services also are part of the package.

TOSHIBA CORP. and BELLCORE are tangling the possibility of wireless access to voice, video, data and multimedia services in the 21st century. To make that prospective convenience a reality, they have teamed up on a project to develop the technologies necessary for the integration of wireless and Internet communications. More specifically, Toshiba and Bellcore hope to come up with the middleware layers needed to develop an Internet Protocol able to work with all types of cellular transmission systems. The Japanese partner brings to the project its strengths in terminals and wireless technologies, while the Morristown, New Jersey- based company will contribute its expertise in information networking software. The work, which could involve the joint expenditure of $25.6 million, will take place at Bellcore's headquarters. Engineers from both the U.S. firm and TOSHIBA AMERICA RESEARCH, INC., the electronics giant's new IT research subsidiary, will participate in the project. Bellcore is a SAIC INC. company.

The development partnership between DENSO WIRELESS SYSTEMS AMERICA, INC. and SPRINT PCS will continue, the Vista, California manufacturer of cellular handsets and the operator of the largest digital PCS (personal communications services) network in the United States announced. Their collaboration already has produced the Sprint PCS Touchpoint phone, a lightweight, small CDMA (code-division multiple access) handset that Denso Wireless makes. DENSO CORP., best known as Japan's top maker of automotive parts, set up the California operation in the fall of 1997.

One cause of the extremely slow start-up of IRIDIUM LLC's global satellite phone and paging service — the lack of handsets — has been eliminated. The Washington, D.C. operator cleared KYOCERA CORP. to ship its single-mode satellite phones, dual-mode satellite adapters and terrestrial cellular phones to Iridium customers around the world after resolving software issues. Kyocera currently is Iridium's sole phone supplier. BRIGHTPOINT, INC. of Indianapolis, Indiana is the initial North American distributor of the Japanese-made handsets (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, pp. 8-9).

Extending a consolidation of sales activities launched at home to the United States, MARANTZ JAPAN, INC. will sell the land mobile and marine radio equipment marketing, sales and service divisions of Los Angeles- based STANDARD COMMUNICATIONS CORP. to YAESU MUSEN CO., LTD.'s Cerritos, California subsidiary. That company, YAESU USA/VERTEX RADIO COMMUNICATIONS, INC., is in the same business. The deal was expected to be finalized April 1.

In a reversal of the usual sequence of events, telephone manufacturer NITSUKO CORP. will distribute in North America a version of ALTIGEN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.'s computer telephony platform after the two companies initially tied up to tackle the Japanese market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 22). The Nitsuko Communication Server that the company's Shelton, Connecticut marketing unit will begin distributing in the second quarter is based on the Fremont, California firm's AltiServ system. Designed for companies with up to 100 users, including telecommuters and mobile workers, the NCS integrates call processing with a number of advanced voice messaging functions. IP telephony also is available as an option.

With the American cable modem market expected to take off after 2000, TOSHIBA CORP. is said to be weighing production of this product at its TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. subsidiary in Irvine, California. The big electronics company has been developing cable modems for the last three years. For about the same time, it has partnered with the cable television business of TIME WARNER INC. on tests around the country using cable modem technology to deliver high-speed Internet access to the number-two CATV operator's subscribers. These cable modems are manufactured in Japan, but Toshiba does not have the capacity there to make the part in volume. If it does transfer production to TAIS, output initially would be on the order of 10,000 cable modems a month.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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