Defense Ministry opposes Sharon order to activate Bluetooth service on Oct. 2

Israel's electronic warfare systems use much of the same 83.5 MHz spectrum as Bluetooth.

Ministry of Defense director general Amos Yaron has rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's order to the Ministries of Defense and Finance to permit Bluetooth service and allow the import of Bluetooth devices as of October 2. Yaron wrote Prime Minister's Office director general Avigdor Yitzhaki to this effect.

Bluetooth is a universal technology adopted by the world's leading communications and hardware companies to create a worldwide standard for wireless voice and data communications over short distances from cellular telephones to mobile computers, PDAs, and other electrical appliances.

Bluetooth communicates on a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz, which has been set aside by international agreement for the use of industrial, scientific and medical devices (ISM). This spectrum includes the 83.5-megahertz frequencies used by Bluetooth, wireless LAN, and microwave ovens.

The problem in Israel is that electronic warfare systems use this frequency. Six years ago, some systems were transferred to other frequencies, leaving 39 of the 83.5 megahertz spectrum for civilian use. The problem is that Bluetooth uses the entire spectrum, with the result that operating Bluetooth products can interfere with military systems and microwave ovens using the same frequency. The IDF has been developing technologies, such as frequency hopping and spectrum spreading to avoid interference.

Hundreds of products already use Bluetooth, some of which are illegally sold in Israel.

The Ministries of Communications and Finance agreed that a special NIS 10 million budget would be approved this year for the defense establishment to protect its systems, thereby enabling Bluetooth wireless communications services.

Following lobbying from Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) Sharon, in his capacity as Minister of Communications, set October 2 for the entry of Bluetooth service.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on August 28, 2003

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