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Companies plan wireless phone system


DALLAS -- Northern Telecom Ltd. and Motorola Inc. will announce tomorrow that they are teaming up to introduce small-scale wireless communications systems that will usher in an era of multifeature "walkphones," industry insiders said.

Northern Telecom Chairman Paul G. Stern and Motorola officials are expected to announce the alliance is expected in New York. The deal will link one of the world's three largest telephone switch-makers and one of the world's three largest cellular communications companies.

The companies will announce plans to introduce personal communications networks that will do for pedestrians what cellular systems have done for motorists, the insiders said.

The new systems, which Northern Telecom and its BNR Laboratories subsidiary have developed at facilities in Richardson, Texas, will allow subscribers to walk around streets, officesand almost anywhere else using lightweight pocket phones that run for 40 hours on a charge.

The systems also will pioneer the idea of a "personal phone number" independent of the phone. The personal communications network will keep track of the user, allowing that person to use whatever phone he chooses, a pocket device, a car phone or a desk phone.

Under the alliance, Northern Telecom is to provide the switches, controllers and other equipment that will process the calls and connect them with the standard public telephone network, sources said.

Motorola Inc. is to provide the radio expertise, including the hand-held phones and wireless base stations that can turn any room into a "microcell."

In the past year, the two companies have developed a working relationship in the burgeoning cellular field, which allows travelers to communicate wirelessly.

Last February, Northern Telecom became an alternative supplier switching equipment for Motorola's cellular communications networks.

DSC Communications Corp. of Plano, Texas, had been the sole supplier of switching equipment for Motorola's cellular networks.

This new wave of personal communications promises to redefine the way people use phones and challenges Baby Bell and other telephone companies' local telephone monopolies, said Ed Jungerman, president of Impulse Telecommunications Corp., a Dallas personal communications network consulting company.

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