Technology: New portable phones may soon be outmoded

日期:2019-02-28 02:06:11 作者:东乡窠扔 阅读:

By BARRY FOX THE second generation of cordless telephones, the CT2, is being introduced in Britain amid recriminations between two rival consortia. Ferranti Creditphone launched a network of CT2 phones, Zonephone, on 1 November – some two months after the launch of the Phonepoint system. Ferranti has accused Phonepoint, an international venture led by British Telecom, of trying to steal a march on it by launching what it claims is only a trial service. Cordless phones need a base station plugged into a conventional telephone line, and a handset which is linked to the base by a radio signal. The CT2 can also communicate through public base stations, known as ‘telepoints’. When it started in September, Phonepoint had 174 telepoints or public base stations thinly spread through London, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Ferranti has a more intensive network, with 300 telepoints concentrated around London and along the motorways, to provide customers with a convenient service in this area. Both ventures hope to sell the CT2 cordless phones as possible cheap alternatives to the cellular phone. But the two systems are incompatible, so users of Zonephone will not have access to Phonepoint. This seems likely to confuse the public and take the edge off commercial opportunities. Approximate costs for users of the new networks are over Pounds sterling 20 to join and another Pounds sterling 25 a quarter for the subscription. The handsets will cost around Pounds sterling 200. On top of this, they will be charged over 10p a minute for local connections, a figure that rises to around 30p a minute for long-distance calls. These costs are higher than originally planned. It is the government’s refusal to specify technical standards that has led to the development of the two incompatible systems. In January, the Department of Trade and Industry licensed four rival consortia to provide a service using the CT2 technology, which relies on digital radio links to provide a more robust and secure system than the first generation of cordless phones. Besides being limited to its home base, a disadvantage of existing cordless phones is that the radio link is an analogue signal, and prone to interference and eavesdropping. Callpoint, the third licensed consortium, will start up early next year, using the same technology as Phonepoint, developed by Shaye Communications. The fourth network will wait until the European standard or Common Air Interface (CAI) is ready. By the end of 1990, BT promises to have 7500 telepoints and Ferranti 5000. They both pledge that they will continue to support users of the potentially obsolete technology which they have launched. Whatever happens,