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Toshiba Establishes Telecommunications Laboratory in Bristol

30 July, 1998


Key focus on development of chipsets for next generation
digital cellular phones and wireless communications technologies

Bristol--Toshiba Corporation, the major Japanese electronics company, today announced that it will set up a new telecommunications technology research centre in Bristol on August 1st. The Telecommunications Research Laboratory (TRL), an important expansion of the company's R&D activities in the UK, will undertake advanced research in next-generation digital cellular phone formats and advanced wireless access technologies.

The new research lab will be headed by internationally renowned communications expert, Professor Joseph McGeehan, Professor of Communications Engineering at the University of Bristol and Director of the University's Centre for Communications Research. The new lab will have a 10 million R&D budget in its first five years, and an initial staff of five or six, which is expected to increase to about 20 by 2001. TRL will have an initial capitalisation of 432,000.

TRL's establishment reflects the expansion and globalisation of Toshiba's R&D activities. Europe is in the forefront of telecommunications research, and a fast-growing market, making it the preferred choice for a new telecommunications laboratory. Bristol was selected as the location for the new lab as it is known as a centre of excellence for research in mobile communications technology.

TRL's key mission is to develop next-generation digital cellular telephone technologies and related intellectual property. It will direct its work to the control and signal processing technologies necessary for digital cellular phones and their chipsets. The lab will also develop advanced telecommunications technologies in such areas as wireless access technology.

In today's Europe, and in many Asian countries, GSM has emerged as the major standard for mobile communications. The next-generation technology now under development, UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), will offer much higher capacity and better performance for multimedia transmission. In January this year, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute agreed to incorporate into UMTS elements of W-CDMA, a next-generation standard being developed in Japan. Consequently, Europe and Japan are expected to adopt similar cellular phone standards, derived from a common platform positioned to become a world standard.

The commercial success of UMTS hinges on development of control and signal processing technologies. TRL will develop these system technologies for incorporation in terminals and chipsets. Through its work, including close collaboration with Toshiba's central research labs at its corporate R&D Center in Kawasaki, Japan, TRL will seek the initiative in developing intellectual property for the emerging format.

TRL is Toshiba Corporation's second dedicated research centre in the UK. In Cambridge, the company operates the Toshiba Cambridge Research Centre Limited, which investigates applications of quantum effect physics to future semiconductor devices. At the same time as it establishes TRL, Toshiba will also incorporate Toshiba Research Europe Limited (TREL). This will provide coordination for TRL and Toshiba Cambridge Research Centre Limited, which will be renamed the Cambridge Research Laboratory. TREL will have an initial capitalisation of some 1,000,000.


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