Westinghouse to provide mobile telephones to budding Australian carrier

July 14, 1993|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

The local division of the Westinghouse Electric Corp. has been called in to help Australians with their phone calls.

The Electronic Systems Group in Linthicum said yesterday that it received an order for a minimum of 7,500 mobile telephones from Optus Mobile Pty. Ltd., a Sydney, Australia-based company looking to plug its country into a wireless satellite communications system within two years.

Herb Nunnally, general manager of Westinghouse's communications division, said the order will provide the first of 20,000 or more phones that might be sold to Optus by the end of the decade.

The order for 7,500 Series 1000 mobile phones, Mr. Nunnally said, "is to get the company [Optus] started. The contract could eventually top $60 million. This will depend on how well Optus sells its service" in Australia. He described Optus as a private utility in the telecommunications business similar to Bell Atlantic Corp.

Optus' Mobilesat system is a satellite communications program providing mobile voice and data communications to remote areas of the country. Using the Optus satellite, a customer would be able to call anywhere in the world from anywhere in Australia.

Westinghouse has been contracted to provide similar mobile telephones in the United States and Canada. Last summer, it was awarded contracts totaling $72 million with the American Mobile Satellite Corp. and TMI Communications of Canada, to provide the telephones and design and build ground stations for mobile satellite communications systems designed to cover all of North America.

Optus began telephone service in 1992, first offering cellular mobile, national and international long-distance direct dialing and operator assistance service. It was the first full-service competitor to Australia's domestic and international telecommunications carriers.

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