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Motorola Pens 3G Deal

Motorola signed a multi-million dollar deal with Sprint PCS Tuesday to provide third-generation wireless equipment.

Sprint officials declined to comment on the financial terms of the contract, which will give Sprint users access to equipment that can download information on the Internet at rates of 144kbps. It will mark Sprint's network upgrade to take advantage of the promise of the third-generation mobile wireless Internet.

Tony Krueck, Sprint PCS vice president of engineering and network design, said the contract confirms his company's dedication to a global Code Division Multiple Access standard.

"This contract represents a major step in furthering our commitment to Interoperability Specifications," Krueck said. By furthering IOS as a global CDMA standard, operators will gain the freedom to pick the best combinations of RF and switching platforms for their networks. These benefits will enable greater freedom of choice for wireless carriers."

The Sprint PCS contract marks the second contract in the U.S. for 1x high-speed data services by vendor Motorola. Last month, the company penned a similar deal with carrier ALLTELL.

Third generation services hold much promise for the future of broadband communications, promising mobile data and voice communications using broadband spectrum from anywhere around the world.

The U.S. has been slow to adopt 3G standards, compared to its counterparts in Europe and Asia. Unlike those countries, American wireless users are charged when receiving calls from another person, prompting many to turn off the phone when not in use.

Also, a dearth in available spectrum prevents the widespread use of broadband wireless usage. Earlier this year, President Bill Clinton tried to get the Department of Defense to free up some of the spectrums it holds, but it remains unclear whether that will happen soon.

This is in marked contrast to Europe, which has had two well-publicized spectrum auctions this year. Earlier, the German government raised $51 billion for licensing rights given to telecommunications companies, while the United Kingdom raked in $37 billion in its auction.

Telcos around the world are eager to pay the whopping price for the expected future returns in the 3G market. Cahners In-Stat, a research firm, estimates that the total 3G market will exceed $200 billion over the next three years.