Japanese electronics giant Panasonic on Tuesday introduced a new wireless network that will be available in 180 countries and comprise the first global service of its kind.
Devices that connect to the P.180 network can roam across most international borders without accumulating charges, utilizing data, or losing access to LTE connectivity.
“When you travel in a part of the world like Europe or even Southeast Asia, for example, where countries are more geographically smaller and compacted together, you’re changing service networks every time you cross a different border,” Victoria Obenshain, vice president of Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, said at a press conference in Manhattan. “We want to understand the business case so we can develop the appropriate solutions that are going to create market pull, but truly address problems. We’re not into throw-away technology or ‘build it and they will come’ type formats.”
The P.180 network is primarily geared toward businesses, with the hope of maintaining the near-constant communication enjoyed in offices during international travel. The service could also help ease business costs for roaming and data.
“When we started in the wireless business in 1997, we thought we understood where it was going to take us, but the market, demand curve, and wants of our customers shifted as they started to understand how critically important real-time connectivity is,” Obenshain said. “Cellphones, laptops — we cannot live without having instantaneous connections to information. It’s how we live our personal and business lives, not to mention the convergence between the two always happens. So I think five years from now, we’ll look back at this unveiling and realize this was the springboard for us to look at connectivity in a different way than we have in the past 20 years.”
Panasonic also hopes to expand the network beyond its current capabilities, which include 92 percent of the world’s countries.
“We’re constantly under negotiations. At 180 countries, it doesn’t mean you stop negotiating with one carrier in each country,” said Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier, whose company spent years developing the P.180 network with Panasonic. “It really comes down to the applications for customer requirements. There could be a requirement or application that needs a specific network in a specific area, and based on them and customer solutions, we’ll go and have those negotiations.”
Filed Under: Infrastructure