Uniden Focus: Multi-Handset Phones, 5.8GHz, Home Networking Devices
By Greg Scoblete On Dec 9 2002 - 7:00am
Uniden will use 2003 International CES to unveil a new line of 2.4GHz DSS cordless phones and its Evolo line of wired and wireless home networking products, said president/ CEO Al Silverberg.
The 2.4GHz phones will be multi-handset units and will follow on the company's previously announced intention to deliver the broadest possible product lineup.
The models are the DCT 5260, which is expandable up to eight handsets, and the DCT5280 and DCT 5285, which are expandable up to four handsets. Details weren't announced.
Although current technology can accommodate numerous handsets, demand is mild for more than two handsets, Silverberg noted. "From our internal research, we've seen attach rates of about two per customer," he said.
Silverberg said that Uniden will also highlight its two recently introduced 5.8GHz DSS phones at the show but said no new 5.8GHz phones are expected to come until at least the end of 2003, if at all. The company's 5.8GHz plans are "strictly digital at this time," Silverberg added.
The company is hoping to gain a lead in the new frequency with early introductions and the promotion of its models as "true" 5.8GHz (sending and receiving in that band) as opposed to competitors' models, which use 5.8GHz in only one direction. As of late October, only VTech (including its AT&T brand) and Uniden had 5.8GHz cordless phones on store shelves.
Uniden is also positioning its 5.8GHz line as the cordless phone of choice for the networked home. "2.4GHz phones interfere with certain wireless networks, and as those become more prevalent in households, 2.4GHz cordless phones will be a problem," Silverberg said.
As a result, Uniden will go to CES to highlight its Evolo line of wired and wireless networking products, the company's first for consumers. The wireless offerings include the WNP 1000 802.11b wireless LAN access point and the WNR 2004 802.11b wireless LAN access point with a 4-port cable/DSL router. On the wired side, the company will debut the ENR 1504 10/100 4-port cable/DSL router and the PCS 500 5-port fast Ethernet switch.
Complementing the networking routers and access points will be a number of wired and wireless accessories, including PC Card and USB adapters for both 802.11b and 10/100 Ethernet. Pricing and availability were not available.
Uniden's fortunes have risen, Silverberg noted, even as other home-phone manufacturers have struggled in an increasingly competitive market that saw the entry of a new competitor, Motorola. "We've seen double-digit gains in unit and dollars this year," Silverberg said. The key, he said, is a varied product line to meet a number of consumer needs — from commodity-priced 900MHz phones to multi-handset 2.4GHz DSS and 5.8GHz DSS product.
Silverberg expects 2003 to see 2.4GHz analog and digital dominant while 5.8GHz grabs about 4-5 percent of the market.
One thing 2003 will not witness is widespread consumer adoption of voice over IP (VoIP) telephony. The company does manufacture enterprise-level VoIP product, Silverberg said, but for the consumer market, "the appeal of VoIP was cheap long distance, and now that long distance is cheap, that hook is gone."