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Business news, 08.02.2005 17:56

Cheaper Wireless Scheme In City

Cheaper Wireless Scheme In City St. Petersburg-based Grad Telecom has launched a joint hi-tech project with Mostkom that promises to deliver wireless connections that are more suited to domestic conditions and cheaper than those offered by international companies.

Last week Grad Telecom signed the contract with Mostkom, a subsidiary of the Ryazan State Instrument-Making Enterprise, to distribute the firm's wireless systems in the city and the Leningrad Oblast.

Going under the name MOST - Multi-purpose Optical Systems for Telecommunications - the system operates by using light to transmit data through space, similar to the way fiber optics use fiber cable.

The technology, also known as free space optics (FSO) or "optical wireless," contrasts with other wireless systems in that it is license-free, easy to use, and offers very high-speed connections.

"One of the main advantages of FSO is its immunity to radio frequency interference or saturation," said Anastasiya Yevdokimova, press agent in charge of marketing Grad Telecom.

"In addition, voice, data, and video can be transmitted at bandwidths of up to 2.5 gigabytes at a distance of up to 4 kilometers, a factor that is especially important for Russia's large territory," Yevdokimova said.

FSO systems were first developed in the 1960s for secure communications by military.

Recent advancements in FSO-based technology, like MOST, have attracted commercial telecom operators as well.

Grad Telecom and Mostkom believe they can capture a good share of the wireless market because of price and Russia-adapted product specifics, said Sergei Petrovich, representative of Mostkom.

Director of mobile industry journal Sotaweek, Denis Kuznov, agreed with Mostkom's assess-ment.

"Mostcom will be able to compete successfully with other producers on the telecommunications market since they take better account of Russian reality," Kuznov said.

The main international players on the FSO technology market - Canon, MRV Communications, and Lucent - could not provide a comment Monday.

A representative of Katharsis did, however, say Monday that he could see little reason to worry over Grad Telecom's launch.

"It is a free market," the representative said over the telephone.

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