11.59 am on October 3rd 1986, the first wireless digital message was
transmitted across the world’s first Mobitex™ network. This historic
moment took place in Gothenburg, home town of Mobitex™, in a time
where few people would recognize the term e-mail, and only living
beings could suffer from virus attacks.

Televerket (The Swedish PTT) realized the enormous potential of wireless
communications very early on, and the vision of a commercial and nationwide
network was born. After launching the first network, a partnership with Ericsson
was established. Televerket were responsible for developing the system through
a newly formed company Eritel AB, and Ericsson assumed responsibility for production
and sales towards the International market. A few years later, Mobitex became a fully owned Ericsson product, where it remained until 2004 when ownership was transferred to an independent enterprise – Mobitex Technology AB.

From the vertical market to the horizontal
Initially, the Mobitex network was considered particularly suitable for vertical applications, i.e. solutions for users with a desire to optimize their business using wireless and mobile communication. Being the first truly wireless and mobile packet data network, Mobitex gained momentum among the business community. But Mobitex was ahead of its time and it would be a number of years before the real breakthrough stimulated by the growth of the Internet and a new breed of customers it spawned. The success became evident in the USA during 1999 as a result of the first wireless electronic organizer hitting the market at a time when WAP and IP became the buzz words of the moment.


Extreme growth
More Mobitex-enabled palm-sized devices followed. They quickly became a constant companion and an indispensable tool to many business executives. As a result of ballooning subscriber numbers, the Mobitex network architecture was quickly restructured to accommodate this spiraling growth. Through a series of significant developments, the entire network topology was changed as Mobitex transformed from a hierarchic network architecture to a flat structure with small sub-networks connected through a backbone. With this increased network flexibility and scalability, very large networks could be configured whilst keeping the lengths of the communication paths to a minimum.

The introduction of RIM’s BlackBerry™ service, or the CrackBerry as some jokingly call it due to its alleged addictive effect, was received with enormous enthusiasm. This service was originally developed for Mobitex but now supports all the larger wireless technologies though its Mobitex roots earned it a solid reputation as a reliable companion thanks to the high reliability and always-on functionality. This was the first service offering continuous synchronization between a handheld and a desktop computer and it would take many years for other wireless technologies to match the quality and functionality delivered over Mobitex.

Pioneering the wireless technology development
Mobitex has pioneered the market for many years through new and innovative functionality. The skills and know-how of the Mobitex development team have also participated in the standard setting for some of the larger technologies of today such as TETRA and GPRS.

Also contributing to the ground breaking development of Mobitex, is the user organization (The Mobitex Association) which over the years has taken a very active interest in the evolution of the technology. Their requirements have spurred us to set high goals and to quickly convert their requests into new network functionality. The main objective of the Association is to decide on, and maintain the Mobitex Interface Specification (MIS). Their work has secured a uniform Mobitex standard on all markets, which has been one of Mobitex’s strengths with respect to other technologies. This global and uniformed interface standard is very important for modem and solution providers, where developments can be simplified and costs minimized.

Mobitex – The Intelligent Network
Many of the error detection mechanisms and controls, that for other technologies need to be part of the end-user applications, are an embedded feature of the Mobitex technology. During the nineties, a large number of important features were introduced; Positive acknowledgement, ESN (electrical serial number for theft prevention), multiple channels, redundant nodes, alternative network pathways, online reconfiguration and of significant importance remote software distribution. . Historically, an upgrade of the network nodes meant time consuming site visits. Through the “remote software distribution” feature, nodes can be loaded with the new software over the Mobitex network. Once the downloads are complete, the nodes can be restarted remotely (usually from the network control center) on the new software with a minimum of downtime.

Automation is a popular word amongst cost saving enthusiasts. The ability to control the network remotely led us to the next step towards automated network surveillance, management and control. Preset measures can be taken as a direct response to alarms from the network resulting in large operational cost savings for the operators.

Mobitex- a lifeline for professional users
After being recognized as the most secure network technology, maintaining uninterrupted service through terror attacks, natural disasters and catastrophes, Mobitex is yet again focusing on the vertical market, targeting those who require absolutely reliable communication.

Mobitex constitutes a lifeline for more than one hundred security organizations worldwide. In the UK more than 50% of the police forces use Mobitex every day for their mobile data communication. Mobitex often operates under severe conditions and our equipment must withstand some of the most austere conditions. The BRU3, one of the Mobitex base stations, was particularly developed with this in mind, and tolerates large changes in temperature, and humidity as well as heavy physical strain. This base station can be installed in almost any outside location, can handle power outages with a minimum of battery backup and with the size of an average briefcase was for a long period smallest, most rugged base station on the market. The BRU3 forms the base of the extremely robust Mobitex networks being installed today.

Flexibility – adaptable to every size
Recently a new type of Mobitex user has emerged, namely those who whilst they require wireless communication, have been dissatisfied with the level of reliability offered by the public GPRS and 3G operators. To meet the need of secure communication, but at a reduced cost compared to traditional and public Mobitex networks, Mobitex has developed an even smaller base station, the BRU1. The reliability of this base station is the same as for the BRU3, but the construction has been simplified and its size reduced. This is typically a base station to be installed indoors, which makes it a less expensive solution and perfect for the private user.

Not long ago we also launched a new software-based switch, the MSN, including several previously discrete functions such as the Node Locations Server, the Internet Access Server and the Dynamic Roaming Register. The new switch improves the cost efficiency, both CAPEX and OPEX, particularly beneficial to smaller network operator. It combines ease of use, enhanced performance, reliability and flexibility. It is quick and easy to install and runs on a standard Sun server.

As always we strive for perfection and customer satisfaction. We salute the many technical experts, both past and present, and our knowledgeable customers and suppliers for their contribution to the success of Mobitex. It’s been a truly remarkable journey from the system beginnings in the early eighties to an intelligent wireless network technology twenty years later. Our entrepreneurial spirit and customer driven innovations have made Mobitex a celebrated wireless network technology deployed on almost all continents.

Thank you!

Göran Rydén
General Manager
Mobitex Technology AB