Speaking to an audience at CTIA Wireless 2000 in New Orleans on Feb. 28, FCC Chairman William Kennard opined that the wireless industry’s slogan ought to be “Wireless Is Not Less, It’s More.” Nah. Keep the day (and night) job, Mr. Chairman.
The head of the telecom agency was making his point that wireless is about to move from being a substitute for wired service to becoming a replacement for it, or a first choice.
Kennard observed, as we have done on this page and as others have, that the wireless industry is tagged by a name that defines it by what it is not.
“It needs a new name,” he said, probably jesting.
Maybe it will get one. If it does, won’t that toast the jelly of whoever casts the top bid in an auction to buy the “wireless.com” domain name?
According to domain name auctioneer Sitejockey.com, the “wireless.com” auction is over, negotiations are pending and “offers are still being accepted”-whatever that means. Maybe it means the top bidder is having trouble coming up with the cash. If that’s so, the FCC chairman might be able to advise what to do.
“Wireless.com” is expected to sell for millions. “Business.com,” for example, sold for $7.5 million last year to Santa Monica, CA-based eCompanies.
Small world: In a separate transaction, Marc Ostrofsky (who sold “business.com” -the name only, you understand- to eCompanies) sold two trade magazines and a trade show from his company, MultiMedia Publishing, to Intertec Publishing, which owns Mobile Radio Technology.
ComSpace in the house Standing proud among CTIA exhibitors was two-way radio-uh, private wireless-system equipment manufacturer ComSpace. Why?
Word is that eventually, and eventually, may be a long time, but eventually ComSpace might like to see a handset manufacturer take an interest in making a dual-mode unit to combine 800MHz dispatch capability with wireless telephone, messaging and Internet access, ala Nextel. Together with ComSpace’s capacity-boosting DC/MA technology, a combo handset could give SMR operators a product for competing with Nextel. The product would use the operator’s own SMR channels for dispatch and “old” 800MHz cellular channels, or maybe “new” 700MHz third-generation (3G) cellular or PCS channels that might be developed following the 700MHz auction.
In this way, ComSpace could help SMRs to wedge themselves into the same business-uh, space-that Nextel now has to itself with combined cellular and dispatch.
ComSpace was there to get the word out about private wireless and its potential to offer a market for wireless handset technology.
Help from wideband I-access Public safety agencies looking for ways to fund backbone telecommunications networks to link police, fire and ambulance stations may find friends among wideband wireless Internet access service providers.
Dave Dunford, our public safety consultant and columnist, tells us that the Lenexa, KS, police department let a supplier put a five-sector broadband antenna on its headquarters tower.
The system delivers Internet access to homes at a T1-plus rate. The equipment is cheap because of economies of scale, and service is cheap because it doesn’t cost much to deploy in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band.
The police department is providing space on the tower in exchange for the cash value of services to link fixed remote sites, not only fire stations, but also fixed command posts. Mobile data, video and intelligence information can be exchanged between computers quite readily. The cash value of the services provided to the department may amount to $200 to $400 per month per site.
Outsourcing wireless E9-1-1 At least one wireless E9-1-1 position-location system vendor at the CTIA show has hopped aboard
the trend toward wireless carriers outsourcing almost everything except sales and customer service. For example, many carriers have sold their towers, and some appear ready to sell their entire technical infrastructure.
The Grayson Electronics division of Allen Telecom demonstrated its time difference of arrival (TDOA) technology as adapted for analog, TDMA and CDMA service, with GSM set to follow in April. What’s different is that Grayson is prepared to design, install, operate, maintain and own the position-location system, acting as a service bureau for the carrier. It would handle all the transactions with the public safety answering point (PSAP). All Grayson needs is a connection to the base station antennas and a smidgeon of rack space.
What a (funny) business Can’t resist telling you what brought a gasp from the audience listening to the CTIA keynote session with Keiji Tachikawa, president of NTT Mobile Communications Network.
Tachikawa was explaining features offered by his network’s proprietary Internet-like service when he said that, of its 1.2 million data customers, 1 million pay $1 per month to receive a new cartoon on their screens every day. He didn’t say what he pays the cartoonist or what it costs for a few packets to transmit the cartoon to 1 million receivers, but how much could it be? Five thousand dollars? Twenty thousand dollars? That’s $1 million per month of almost pure profit.
Chris Gent, chief executive of Vodafone AirTouch, followed Tachikawa for another segment of the session. In greeting the audience, he said he was pleased to be there and would spend the time necessary to cover his subject, but that afterwards he had an appointment with a cartoonist.