Kathrein Earns Top Position Among Mobile Communication Antenna Deployments Worldwide

Rosenheim, Germany and Richardson, Texas, Monday, July 20, 2015 – Kathrein, a leading international specialist for reliable, high-quality communication technology, is ranked the number one among providers of mobile communication antennas in 2015. Published in a recent study by ABI Research, almost a quarter (24.8%) of all LTE antennas sold and deployed worldwide come from Kathrein.

 LTE (Long Term Evolution) refers to the fourth-generation mobile communication standard (4G). It allows considerably higher data transmission and download rates for mobile customers across the globe. Using the technology, network operators can satisfy the significantly increasing capacity requirements of mobile communication users. ABI Research forecasts an almost five-fold rise in the monthly data volume per user by 2019.

The mobile communication market is currently in the midst of progressive densification of wireless networks. According to the calculations of ABI Research, 76.2% of the market was shared by the four leading providers in 2014. In the previous year, this figure was 72.4%. Kathrein was not only able to underline its top position in relation to market share but also competitive strength. With 95.5 out of 100 points, ABI Research confirms the company’s particularly high power of innovation, strong global sales organization, and close relationships with leading network operators. The especially broad range of solutions for different frequency spectrums and mobile communication standards also contributed to Kathrein’s number one ranking amongst the competitive set.

Multi-band antennas becoming increasingly important

“We have held our own at the top of the market for sophisticated mobile communication antennas for many years,” says Joe Doering, Chief Sales Officer of the Kathrein Group. “First place in the recent ABI study underlines the appreciation that customers have for our high quality solutions.” Kathrein pursues a considerable amount of research and development work to enable mobile communication providers to invest securely in the establishment and expansion of their networks. Multi-band antennas are becoming increasingly important. According to ABI Research, they should have a market share of more than 85 per cent by 2019. Demand is also rising for active systems.

Reliable and future-proof systems from Kathrein

“Our customers appreciate the combination of outstanding quality, high reliability and personal support,” says Manfred Steinbacher, head of the Mobile Communication Antennas division. “Mobile communication networks of the future must be even more high-performance, flexible and efficient. Our solutions and systems are future-proof, offer low total cost of ownership and guarantee reliable data transmission.”

About Kathrein

Kathrein is an innovation and technology leader in today’s connected world. Kathrein solutions enable people to globally communicate, access information, and use media at home or on the road. From mobile communications, signal processing systems and optimized data transmission in buildings; to fiber optic and cable networks and satellite reception technology; to radio and TV transmission and data reception in cars; Kathrein is a hidden champion and family-owned enterprise that has been working on the technologies of tomorrow since 1919. For more information visit: www.kathrein.com.

Kathrein Drives Forward Transformation at the Rosenheim Location

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Kathrein is transforming its headquarters from an industrial to an innovation and technology location. In addition to new areas for research and development, a lead factory will be established in Rosenheim in the next few years for the development of standardised and innovative production processes.

The new alignment of the Rosenheim site is an essential component in the reorganisation of the Kathrein Group. Markets are experiencing ever shorter cycles of innovation, meaning that customers must simultaneously come to grips with a constant stream of new demands. As a technology pioneer, Kathrein is facing the challenge – research activities at the headquarters will be significantly expanded. The company has recruited more than 100 highly qualified specialists in the past 12 months alone, and former production and office spaces are being transformed as well as a new development and test building constructed at Works III in the Klepperstrasse.

Tried-and-Tested Production Processes Adopted

The lead factory will network the areas of innovation and product creation with the widely branched production division within the Kathrein Group. “We will be developing innovative products and processes in the lead factory so that they can be simply adopted by other production sites within our company group, and without any losses in quality,” explained Frank Ullmann, Chief Operating Officer of the Kathrein Group. If processes in the lead factory progress stably, these will then be transferred to other locations where series production will be initiated.

Overall Productivity Increases

“The concept of a lead factory gives us significant advantages,” continued Ullmann. “On the one hand we benefit from a direct proximity to our research and development resources, and on the other we are able to exploit the many decades of production experience at the headquarters.” By adopting tested manufacturing processes, productivity levels throughout the group of companies will increase.

Discussions Between Executive Board and Works Council

The concept of a lead factory will be accompanied by a qualitative transformation in Rosenheim. Levels of natural fluctuation will be primarily used to modify the employee structure to the new requirements. Cutbacks in personnel however cannot be avoided as part of the new alignment. How the transformation is specifically implemented will be the theme of confidential discussions between the executive board and the works council in the coming weeks, and both sides have agreed to inform together about intermediate results.

“For the executive board it is very important that the transformation is socially acceptable, with individual offers for our employees. We are confident of finding a solution for everyone,” emphasised Anton Kathrein, Managing Director of Kathrein. All tariff policy instruments will be used to this effect.

Kathrein Automotive Focuses its Core Business

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Kathrein is adapting its product portfolio in the automotive sector. The business division is handing over trade business in the aftermarket sector to the Swedish antenna specialist Smarteq. As part of a strategic partnership, the company gains exclusive marketing and reseller rights across Europe for Kathrein aftermarket automotive products.

The Kathrein Group combined the automotive antenna business of its headquarters in Rosenheim together with business from the companies of Blaupunkt Antenna Systems and Olimpus Automotive acquired in 2010 to form the Kathrein Automotive product division. In the future, Kathrein Automotive will be focusing on global original equipment products for vehicles featuring innovative transmission and reception technology. The company concentrates on intelligent solutions for technical challenges of the future.

One of the focal points of product and research has been the development of antenna systems and electronic components for the new LTE and 5G mobile radio services. The Kathrein Group is developing fundamental solutions here that will have major importance for international automotive manufacturers. Communication between vehicles (so-called ‘car to car communication’) is also one of the primary topics of the future that is actively shaped by Kathrein.

Frank Ullmann, COO of the Kathrein Group: “Our Automotive division serves internationally active customers in the global market, and it’s one of our strengths that our development and production locations are found in all of the global key automotive industry markets.”

Michael Heise, CEO of Kathrein Automotive, views the partnership with Smarteq with a high level of confidence. “Our valuable customer relationships are being placed in good hands. Smarteq is a specialist in the pan-European aftermarket business that targets the same, very high levels of quality that we do.”

Smarteq-CEO Johan Hårdén sees the cooperation with Kathrein as a “maximum quality of approval” for his company. “We benefit both from the technological spectrum and from the highly respected Kathrein sales network,” he explained.

Kathrein strengthens activities in North America

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Industry Veteran Jim Nevelle Appointed to Lead Kathrein in U.S. and Canada

Kathrein Group, a leading international specialist for reliable, high-quality communication technologies, today announced the appointment of Mr. Jim Nevelle as President and CEO for Kathrein in North America (formerly known as Kathrein-Scala). In addition, the decision was made to move Kathrein’s U.S.-based headquarters to the Telecom Corridor® in Richardson, Texas.

“USA and Canada are among our key markets, and we see a lot of potential for our pioneering solutions”, explained Joe Doering, Chief Sales Officer of the Kathrein Group. “Mr. Nevelle has the management experience, passion, and drive to build our North American presence and moving our Oregon operations to Richardson, Texas, will provide an outstanding modern work environment for our employees and visitors.”

“Establishing a presence in the Richardson Telecom Corridor® is an important part of Kathrein’s fasttrack growth strategy. With U.S. and Canadian spectrum licensing auctions and its implications for additional wireless and broadband growth, the new location not only gives us close proximity to some of the major players in the telecommunications industry but also gives us access to a significant pool of highly qualified telecom professionals,” said Jim Nevelle, president and CEO of Kathrein North America. “The Kathrein Group has an extraordinary track record of innovation and I’m thrilled to join a company with such a high-powered development and management team and look forward to making my contributions to the company and our customers.”

The new offices will also help Kathrein support the missions of its customers and will better reflect the role as a global technology and innovation leader in such areas as Mobile Communication Antennas, Filters, Combiners and Amplifiers as well as Satellite and Terrestrial Reception Systems, Broadband Communication Systems and Broadcast Antenna Systems. The new office will serve as a sales and customer support facility for the rapidly growing company.

Prior to joining Kathrein USA, Jim co-founded Sorrento Networks and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Nevelle has also held management positions at Verso Technologies, Verilink Corporation, and XEL Communications. He is co-author of four U.S. patents pertaining to broadband architectures and deployments and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Technology Management from the University of Denver.

Nevelle succeeds Manfred Muenzel who was CEO at Kathrein Inc., Scala Division since 1999.

Kathrein Begins Operations in New Plant in Mexico

 

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Kathrein inaugurated a new production location in Mexico. State-of-the-art production facilities have been established in the Tetla industrial park in the state of Tlaxcala. Antennas for mobile communication will primarily be manufactured in the 13,000 square metres of production space, and the new Kathrein Group location has created around 400 jobs in the region.

On the occasion of the official inauguration on 17 April 2015, Anton Kathrein, CEO of Kathrein, explained the background concerning construction of the plant to the guests. In the past 12 months, the company has significantly expanded its global production capacity, with this strategy being driven by the very high demand for mobile communications antennas in the global marketplace. Because of rapidly increasing volumes of data in mobile communication networks, network operators are rapidly and significantly expanding their infrastructure.

Kathrein expressed its gratitude to all project participants for their high levels of commitment. “It’s certainly a great performance that we were able to maintain both the budget and time schedule, and that we could inaugurate the plant after merely one year of construction,” said the entrepreneur. Following the laying of the foundation stone at the end of April 2014, poor weather conditions initially delayed construction work over several weeks. Kathrein continued: “The level of teamwork with local authorities was outstanding”.

Modern Infrastructure and High Productivity

Frank Ullmann, COO of the Kathrein Group, confirmed the benefits of the new location. “Mexico has become a focal point for many European companies aiming to exploit sales markets in North and South America. The country has a modern infrastructure and a competitive production environment,” he explained. Several free trade agreements and the fact that the country is directly adjacent to the United States are decisive advantages compared to other Latin American countries. “The Tetla industrial park is an outstanding location for our new plant. We gained a highly attractive real estate offer from the municipality, and the location within Mexico is advantageous in several ways”, added Ullmann.
The Governor of Tlaxcala, Mariano González Zarur, emphasised the importance of the Kathrein investment. “It shows that we are able to offer companies an appealing economic environment as well as qualified labour,” stated the politician.

Kathrein Supports Interactive Rainforest Exhibition

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With Kathrein as one of the main sponsors, the new interactive “Rainforest” exhibition has started in the Lokschuppen Exhibition Centre. One of the Earth’s most important ecosystems is being presented with the aid of more than 50 media stations until 29 November. According to the theme of “We plant a little rainforest in your head”, 15 curators from various specialist areas have bundled their expertise and brought together highly valuable exhibits. In the past five years, approximately 800,000 people have visited the exhibitions in Rosenheim.

“In recent years the Lokschuppen Exhibition Centre has distinguished itself with superbly designed special shows, and is one of the leading museums and exhibition venues in Germany”, stated CEO Anton Kathrein about his company’s commitment. With the theme of rainforests, it is particularly important to not only show diversity and beauty but also to point out the threat to this unique ecosystem. “Every year an area the size of Greece is being cleared, and visitors get to see with their own eyes how important it is to actively contribute to the preservation of our environment.”

The Veranstaltungs und Kongress GmbH Rosenheim (VKR) (Culture and Congress Centre Rosenheim) has invested nearly 2.5 million euros in the exhibition. Among other things, a new sound and lighting system was installed and a “jungle” sauna was integrated. “With the rainforest topic we’re entering completely new territory”, said the VKR CEO Peter Lutz. “Never before have so many scientists from so many different fields participated in the design of an exhibition at the Lokschuppen.”

Special attention was paid to make the exhibition appealing to families, informed Mr. Lutz. A rainforest path for the children has been installed for example where they can wrestle with a jaguar or marvel at a trail of marching ants. During the school holidays, various workshops are on offer, and in addition to regular and family tours, there are also various special tours for school classes or senior citizens.

Coordinating curator of the exhibition is Professor Dr. Christian Feest, former Director of the Ethnological Museum in Vienna. “It was a challenge for me to relate a generally intelligible story about the rainforest with the help of the modules provided by my colleagues,” said Feest. Different approaches and also contradictions of the individual disciplines have made the task all the more fascinating.

Rosenheim’s Mayor Gabriele Bauer pointed out in her inaugural speech how important it is to understand the global significance of rainforests. “For each and every one of us it’s essential not just to treasure them as a “life insurance” for humanity, but also to understand them. The exhibition in the Lokschuppen successfully achieves this. “It stimulates your curiosity and encourages you to consider your own attitudes towards consumer behaviour” said the Mayor.

Kathrein Takes Part in Successful Trial of the ORI Standard in the LTE Network

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Kathrein has supported the testing of the world’s first LTE network that uses the standard ORI (Open Radio Equipment Interface).This standard makes components from different manufacturers compatible with each other on the same mobile site (the Base Band Unit of the base station and the Remote Radio Head). This trial was carried out successfully by the mobile phone provider Vodafone along with Kathrein and the Japanese technology group Fujitsu.

The LTE base station used in the functional test was fitted with RRH (Remote Radio Head) components from Kathrein as well as BBU (Base Band Unit) equipment from Fujitsu which conformed to the ORI release 1. The connection was made using fibre optic cable. “ORI is based on the existing interface CPRI and offers some benefits in comparison; these include increased interoperability, higher performance and lower testing effort,” said Burkhard Mann, Head of Software Development at Kathrein. In the long term, this reduces the costs in the telecommunications industry.

Through ORI, network operators are more flexible because they can use the BBU and RRH equipment of various service providers. Ultimately, this leads to more innovations in terms of performance and design for these key mobile communication components. The ORI standard already supports LTE Advanced and UMTS in Release 1 and will support GSM/GPRS systems and optimisation for C-RAN architectures from the Releases 3 and 4.