FCC adopts date, rules for 220MHz service
In a public notice released May 29, 1998, the FCC rescheduled the auction date for the 220MHz-222MHz licenses for Sept. 15, 1998.
The Phase II 220MHz Service auction was originally scheduled for May 19, 1998, but was postponed pending FCC resolution of petitions for reconsideration.
The FCC issued the Memorandum of Opinion and Order on Reconsideration, setting forth rules for the 220MHz-222MHz service. In general, the commission upheld decisions made in previous orders, but did not adopt changes and cla rifications in response to numerous petitions for reconsideration, including those filed by the American Mobile Telecommunications Association. Alan Shark, AMTA president, said that AMTA was not surprised that the FCC had chosen to sustain previous decisions, but that the “FCC’s action will permit the long-awaited opportunity for this segment of the wireless industry to further develop into its full potential as a spectrum-efficient, business communications tool.”
SmartLink enters agreement with King Communications
SmartLink Development L.P., Apex, NC, has entered into a letter of intent with King Communications International, an Australian company.
SmartLink will become a wholly owned subsidiary of a U.S. reporting shell company. King will also sell its two subsidiaries, King Communications U.S.A. and King Communications Australasia to the new company.
The agreement with King will allow for the integration of King’s and SmartLink’s complementary technologies and businesses. Together, King and SmartLink’s products provide seamless voice and data transmission for analog systems and will be capable of migrating to new APCO Project 25 digital systems. King’s and SmartLink’s product lines address mobile data and interconnecting multifrequency radio systems.
The U.S. public company’s board of directors will include Mark Hatten, chairman of the board; Scott Bocklund, chief executive officer; Frank Eccles and Robert Geaghan (existing directors of King); Craig Russey, secretary; one person selected by a designee of the new investors and one other member to be chosen by majority consent of the board at a later date.
NTIA identifies <3GHz spectrum for reallocation to private sector A spectrum reallocation report by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) identifies 20MHz of radio frequency spectrum below 3GHz for reallocation from federal to non-federal use, as mandated by Title III of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
The 20MHz identified for reallocation is to be assigned by the FCC to non-federal users through the process of competitive bidding prior to 2002. Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley signed the report on Feb. 9, 1998. The federal government uses frequencies below 3GHz to support missions that provide benefits to the public, including federal law enforcement activities, air traffic control, national defense, weather services, scientific studies and environmental monitoring. The estimated federal investment exceeds $280 million. About half of this spectrum is shared with non-federal users. The reallocation plan provides an overview of federal usage, a transition timetable and any sharing requirements for each of the bands identified for reallocation. The estimated reallocation costs and potential operational impacts to the missions performed by federal agencies are also discussed.
ITA, radio dealer organization to hold annual conference
The Industrial Telecommunications Association, Arlington, VA, and the USMSS, Mount Pleasant, MI, will convene a joint annual conference, Oct. 28-31, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. The theme for the conference is “Spectrum, Technology and Regulations … Managing the Revolution.” The conference will provide a forum for the exchange and presentation of wireless communications regulatory issues, business enhancement processes, radio technology advancements and business opportunities in telecommunications.
Six panel sessions will cover issues for private wireless users and business radio dealers regarding federal policy, FCC regulation, technology and business development.
Motorola launches $100-million global ad campaign Motorola has launched a $100-million-plus, multifaceted global advertising campaign designed to generate unified brand awareness for the company’s consumer products: cell phones, pagers and personal-use two-way radios. This is the first time that the company has engaged in a consumer-branding ad campaign that combines products from different Motorola businesses. A result of market research conducted by Motorola, the “Wings” campaign shows Motorola products giving consumers the freedom to “take their worlds with them” by helping them communicate with others, when they choose. The launch in the United States will be followed by rollouts in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Iridium completes satellite constellation deployment
The launch of five Iridium communications satellites on May 17 marked the technical completion of the venture’s 66-satellite constellation-a major milestone in a schedule that calls for service start-up on September 23 of this year.
Iridium’s 66-satellite wireless personal telecommunications network is designed to offer global communications coverage and a variety of communications services, including voice, data, fax and paging, to customers with Iridium hand-held telephones and pagers.
The Delta II launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base is the 15th successful launch in 12 months. The global effort has included Iridium satellite launches using the Boeing Delta boosters in the United States, Russian Proton rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and Chinese Long March 2C/SD rockets launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.
Seventy-two satellites have been launched for the system; 67 are operational. Motorola will operate the constellation for a five-year term beginning at commercial activation. Iridium is based in Washington, DC.
News Notes Coopers & Lybrand has resigned as the independent auditor for Transcrypt International, Lincoln, NE. The firm advised Transcrypt that their reports for the consolidated financial statements on Transcrypt and subsidiaries for the years ending Dec. 31, 1995 and 1996, are withdrawn. A statement issued by Transcrypt said that until the company retains new auditors and the new auditors produce a report, the company’s previous financial statements should not be relied upon.
Nokia Telecommunications, Finland, will incorporate components of Prince-ton, NJ-based Intek Global’s linear modulation (LM) technology into its Trans-European Trunked Radio (TETRA) products. Martti Tuulos, Nokia’s systems technology manager, said that the LM technology would be “especially attractive to wireless users because it will offer a smooth migration path while using existing channels, and also satisfy the rapidly growing demand for high speed data.”
Cable TV systems operator Cable One is making its head-end towers available for wireless antenna sitting under a management agreement with Center-pointe Communications, Arlington, TX. The towers are located mostly in the western, central and southern United States. “Our partnership with Cable One enables us to provide wireless carriers with a quick, efficient solution to their site requirements-a solution that is cost-effective and community-friendly,” said Centerpointe president K.C. Wright.
After a kick-off meeting of more than 50 Kenwood dealers, regioNet Wireless launched its first regional fleet wireless network providing services in Southern California. “RegioNet networked services will bring value-added services to the often-neglected fleet dispatch market,” said Paul vander Heyden, president of regioNet. The Southern California network is the first of 13 such regional networks planned for construction across the United States.
Centurion International, Lincoln, NE, and Lithium Technology (LT) will integrate LT’s rechargeable lithium-ion polymer cells into battery packs for a global PC manufacturer’s specific computer applications. “Centurion’s battery engineering and integration capabilities are among the best in the rechargeable battery industry,” said David Cade, president of Lithium Technology.
The Pontiac and Stateville Correctional Centers in Illinois are home to new Motorola two-way radio systems that officials hope will answer the prisons’ need for reliable radio communication in an environment of concrete and steel, corridors and underground tunnels. “Correctional personnel need equally sophisticated systems to manage communications needs in confined areas with many existing barriers to effective communications,” said Odie Washington, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections. George DeTella, Stateville warden, added: “With our old system, we had to go through the dispatcher about two-thirds of the time.”
Nextel Communications, McLean, VA, has acquired certain SMR assets, including assets from C&H Electronics, Business Radio Products, Mid-Atlantic Communications and Valley Two-Way. Nextel provides mobile phone, voice mail and paging services throughout the United States.
School districts in San Antonio, TX, have ordered an additional 200 communications units from Montvale, NJ-based Geotek, bringing their total order to more than 1,000. Geotek provides real-time voice and data applications for the district’s drivers and dispatchers for services such as landscaping, carpentry, security and food delivery. “Having the ability to communicate and coordinate the day-to-day job assignments that keep the school district up and running represents a tremendous value,” said Jim Martin, director of maintenance operations for the San Antonio school districts.
Astron, Sterling, VA, has acquired antenna manufacturer Antennaco, Milford, NH, and will move its operations to Astron’s facilities in Sterling. Antennaco president Joe Reisert will serve Astron as a technical consultant. “It was a difficult decision for me to abandon my pursuit of making Antennaco one of the premier antenna companies in the United States, but doing so will allow me the opportunity to focus primarily on antenna design,” Reisert said.
The strategic alliances business unit at PageMart Wireless, Dallas, is now called the Carrier Services Division. “Expanding the strategic alliances business unit into the Carrier Services Division allows us to strengthen our current relationships, as well as position PageMart as a broader player in the carrier section,” said Doug Glen, president of the division.
American Mobile Satellite, Reston, VA, has acquired Ardis, Lincolnshire, IL. The combined company serves more than 80,000 subscribers with an annual service revenue in excess of $60 million. “This transaction solidifies our position as a single-source for a broad range of cost-effective nationwide wireless communications services,” said Walt Purnell, president of American Mobile.
Corsair Communications, Palo Alto, CA, has agreed to acquire software systems supplier Subscriber Computing, Irvine, CA. “Corsair has ties to wireless carriers in over 150 markets worldwide,” said Mary Ann Byrnes, Corsair president. “Our strategy is to grow through internal efforts and through acquisitions.” Dennis Andrews, chief executive of Subscriber, added: “Subscriber and Corsair are both deeply committed to helping our customers flourish in an increasingly competitive environment.”
TekNow, Phoenix, and Motorola, Schaumburg, IL, plan to implement the industry’s first two-way input protocol called TME (Telocator Message Entry) to increase the adoption of advanced paging information services. “We see application development leveraging industry standards such as TME as a key enabler for the growth of the paging industry,” said Mike Maloney, senior director of product management and marketing for Motorola Paging Systems Group.
When an ice storm knocked out power to 100,000 residents in the Watertown, NY, area, technicians from Lynchburg, VA-based Ericsson and line crews from PECO Energy provided the communications equipment to help Niagara Mohawk restore electricity. “Without the portable Ericsson system PECO took to Watertown, Niagara Mohawk would have been sending trucks out to deliver messages and instructions in person to the crews in the field,” said Tim Sage, a service manager for Ericsson Private Radio Systems.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services has selected American Mobile Satellite’s wireless messaging service for its local fleet operations. “We found American Mobile’s ability to deliver total coverage at a low cost a compelling combination,” said George Brooks, vice president of research and development at J.B. Hunt. In preparation for the commercial launch of Conxus’ Pocketalk service, Glenayre activated its Inflexion-based two-way voice messaging system in Chicago. “In addition to providing high-capacity voice messaging services, Glen-ayre’s advanced two-way platform can provide Reflex25 data services on the same network to deliver many different services to Conxus subscribers,” said Jim Marion, president of Glenayre’s Wireless Messaging Group.