Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
Hot products from October ’96
Ericsson Inc. introduced a lightweight, palm-sized cellular phone which delivers up to 90 minutes of talk time and 24 hours of standby time, the company said. The phone, named AF 738, uses Advanced Mobile Phone Service. Features of the new phone include 99 speed dial memory locations, additional speed dial memory for calling card numbers, secure memory locations for credit card numbers and bank account numbers and 10 number redial. It will be marketed in the United States at around $500 and also will be available in worldwide markets where AMPS is available, including Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Australia. (800) ERICSSON. Meanwhile, Philips Semiconductors introduced a complete range of GaAS Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit power amplifiers that are compatible with emerging digital cellular standards. The amplifiers offer manufacturers a simple design-in process, reduced assembly costs and smaller handset designs, the company said. The amplifiers are suitable for Global System for Mobile communications, digital cellular system, personal communications services, Digital European Cordless Telephone and Personal Handyphone System technologies. Each product features zero dBm RF drive, high operating efficiency and low-cost plastic packaging. … Read more
Paging customers interested in guaranteed, two-way messaging
WASHINGTON-Almost 60 percent of paging customers said they would be interested in subscribing to a guaranteed voice messaging service, according to a recent study by Economic and Management Consultants International Inc. A total of 12 percent of nonusers said they would be interested in the service. According to the study, “Pagetrac ’96: Consumer Trends in Paging,” 66 percent of paging users said it was important to know their page was received. “Pagetrac ’96 clearly indicates a market for two-way messaging,” said Elliot Hamilton, director of EMCI’s North American Wireless Group. “It is up to the carriers to develop appropriate pricing and form factor to capture this demand.” … Read more
What do we want? Data! How do we want it? With voice!
Geotek Communications Inc. has launched the data portion of its network, hoping to satisfy higher-than-expected demand for data and low subscriber numbers. “We introduced with voice service, but data was what they really wanted,” said Randy Miller, a Geotek spokeswoman. Only about 2,000 subscribers use the seven U.S. networks Geotek has launched this year. The packet systems operate at 900 MHz, using Frequency Hopping Multiple Access spread spectrum technology. Geotek expected about 50 percent of its potential customers would be interested in voice service. But the company’s sales staff found only about 15 percent of customers were seeking a new solution for voice, and 85 percent wanted data, Miller said. “They wouldn’t switch to us until we had data, but they don’t want data alone, either. And we can supply them with mobile data and voice.” Montvale, N.J.-based Geotek is targeting small- and medium-size businesses with vehicle fleets. Nextel Communications Inc. offers a similar service via Motorola Inc.’s integrated Dispatch Enhanced Network technology. It is operating commercially in fewer than a half dozen Nextel markets. Also a packet-based network, iDEN offers voice and circuit data today, with plans to commercially launch packet data at the end of 1997. … Read more
JD Power expands its wireless consumer reports
AGOURA HILLS, Calif.-J.D. Power and Associates announced it will jointly produce additional studies on the wireless telecommunications market with Safco Technologies Inc., a company that deploys measurement systems and analysis software to the industry. J.D. Power said the new studies will report on the performance of quality of wireless providers’ networks from a customers perspective. The combined analysis of the two companies will detail customer satisfaction with call quality for a variety of targeted networks. “By benchmarking the cellular networks’ technical performance concurrently with the consumer surveys, both J.D. Power and Associates and Safco can provide the industry with valuable marketing insight into their own networks, as well as their competitors’,” said Bruce Creger, president of Safco. … Read more
Eyeing a global GSM phone
DUBLIN, Ireland-The GSM MoU Association is interested in creating a multiband WorldPhone that operates at 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz. “Global roaming is the cornerstone of GSM’s success,” said Gretel Holcomb Hoffman, chairperson of the association. Global System for Mobile communications technology has been deployed in wireless systems in Europe and the United States. European cellular networks operate at 900 MHz, and personal communications spectrum is at 1800 MHz in Europe and 1900 MHz in the United States. Cellular service in the United States operates in the 800 MHz range, but no U.S. cellular operator has selected GSM for its technology upgrade from analog to digital. “It has become evident that our members wish to make a joint effort to assess the size, timing and potential of this market,” Hoffman said. They will “then convey the result to the manufacturers in the industry to encourage them to produce the phones that we believe the market needs.” The objectives of the GSM WorldPhone project are to produce a common technical and service description for the handset, specify maximum limits for size and weight … Read more
Motorola wins major contract in the Philippines
Motorola Inc.’s Asia Pacific Cellular Infrastructure Group has signed a contract valued at more than $100 million to deploy a fixed wireless telephone network in the Philippines. Motorola said the network will supply service in the southern and western Mindanao regions, located in the southern Philippines, as part of a build-and-transfer arrangement between the Pilipino Telephone Corp. (Piltel) and Marubeni Corp. of Japan. The network will be part of Piltel’s commitment to provide 400,000 additional telephone lines to residential and business subscribers, said Motorola. Piltel has been a landline telephone provider since 1968 and operates a nationwide cellular phone and paging system along with other wireless services throughout the Philippines. The network uses Motorola’s mobile telephone switching office/mobile switching center architecture, which provides fixed subscriber capability to an already existing cellular mobile network, said Marty Singer, Motorola’s vice president and general manager of the wireless access and business development division. The switching center performs the billing and database functions and provides a trunked interface to the public switched telephone network. … Read more
Call Mom from the flight home
Air-to-ground communications may give people an added incentive to fly this holiday season. GTE Airfone Inc. of Oak Brook, Ill., has introduced its $25 holiday card that will allow users to make an unlimited number of domestic and international calls during December. Card holders also can use three-way calling, data and fax services. GTE Airfone said the card is available until Dec. 15, and can be used on all airlines with which the company has contracts. The holiday months also are a great time for GTE Airfone to maintain business. Business travelers are the traditional users of Airfones. They travel less during the winter holidays when general consumers travel more. The company said it plans to change its domestic rates on a permanent basis. Beginning Nov. 1, GTE Airfone will charge $3 for a set-up fee and $3.28 per minute until the customer reaches the $15 flat rate. In April, the company introduced its flat rate pricing of $15 on any domestic call including voice, fax and data communications. GTE Airfone holds contracts with most U.S. airlines and a growing number of international airlines. The company leads in the air-to-ground/ground-to-air market, a global market dominated by only three players. In-Flight Phone Corp. and AT&T Wireless Services Inc.’s Aviation Communications Division, known as Claircom International in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, are GTE Airfone’s formidable competitors. In-Flight Phone said as of mid-October, it is dropping its domestic rates permanently on weekends by charging $6 for a two-minute domestic call, or $10 for up to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, weekday rates apply. The company charges a $2.50 connection fee plus $3 per minute. In-Flight Phone said the decrease in rates was not designed specifically for the holidays. … Read more
PCS auctions drag on
WASHINGTON-Bidders in the D-, E- and F-block personal communications services auctions appear to be in no hurry to end it. According to analyst Taylor Simmons, even if the Federal Communications Commission ramps up to three rounds per day (which it may do this week), wrangling over the 10 megahertz spectrum slices could continue into December. Simmons pointed to the slow rate of decline in eligibility as one contributor to the auction’s longevity. At the end of Round 71, net revenue for the three blocks totaled $1.86 billion, with the same five companies leading the pack in high bids: SprintCom Inc., AT&T Wireless PCS Inc., BellSouth Wireless Inc., Alltel Mobile Communications and Northcoast Operating Co. Inc. What continues to be unusual is the disparity in prices among the blocks. BIA Consulting Inc.’s research shows that $776 million has been bid for D-block markets, with a national average price per pop of $2.96. For the E block, $781 million has been committed, with a national average price per pop of $2.98. In the F block, only $311.6 million has been garnered, with an average national per-pop price of $1.19. Simmons’ analysis of bid hills and valleys as of Round 69 showed the D and E blocks in Los Angeles were moving at more than $30 million each, while the F block languished at $5.9 million. In Chicago, the upper two licenses were bid at $59.9 million and $62.7 million, with the F block at $30.7 million. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.