FCC 800MHz auction closes; Nextel wins most licenses The FCC 800MHz SMR auction came to a close on Dec. 8, 1997. Spending $88.8 million, Nextel Communications, McLean, VA, won the most licenses_475 out of 525 available. Its purchase covers a hypothetical 732 million population (pops). Nextel is now present in all 50 states, and in all 175 economic areas (EAs).
The three-week-long auction, starting on Oct. 28, raised $96 million in total net revenue. Licenses were divided into three-channel blocks in 175 markets. There were initially 62 eligible bidders, but only 10 bidders walked away with one or more licenses.
Coming in with the second highest bid was North Sight Communications, Puerto Rico, which bid $1.57 million and won one license. Southern Company, Atlanta, won seven licenses with a bid of $1,184,000, and High Tech Communications, Ocala, FL, won one license with a bid of $1,182,750. Nevada Wireless, Winnimucca, NV, won 16 licenses, spending $1.07 million.
Court appeals of the FCC Orders that created the auction are pending.
Four new commissioners join FCC; Kennard is chairman With U.S. Senate confirmation of President Clinton’s FCC nominations, four new commissioners have joined the agency. Bill Kennard moves up from his post as FCC general counsel to become chairman. He replaces Commissioner James Quello and fills a term expiring June 30, 2001. Harold Furchgott-Roth, formerly the chief economist of the House Commerce Committee, takes a seat vacated in 1996 by Andrew Barrett and fills a term that expires on June 30, 2000.
Michael Powell, formerly chief of staff of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, replaces Commissioner Rachelle Chong and fills a term that expires June 30, 2002. Gloria Tristani, formerly with the New Mexico State Corporation Commission, was confirmed for two terms as an FCC commissioner. First, she fills the remainder of Chairman Reed Hundt’s term, which expires June 30, 1998. Her second term begins the next day and ends June 30, 2003. The fifth commission seat already is filled by Susan Ness, whose term continues through June 30, 1999.
Although commission terms are staggered to begin and end, one by one, over five years, many commissioners begin service after their terms already have begun and continue service after their terms expire. Federal law permits commissioners to remain in office after their terms expire and until a replacement is confirmed. Political and other considerations sometimes delay presidents from appointing replacements until months or years after terms expire.
Hutton Communications relocates Hutton Communications, has moved to a new corporate headquarters building in Carollton, TX, a suburb of Dallas. The 72,000-square-foot building will also house the sales and warehouse operations of the company’s Dallas branch. The new address is: Hutton Communications, 2520 Marsh Lane, Carrollton, TX 75006.
BellSouth Mobility adds lightning protection at 18 cell sites BellSouth Mobility has added Lightning Master Streamer Retarding brand sutructural lightning protection systems at 18 cell sites in the greater Orlando area. The structural lightning protection systems were designed and installed by Lightning Master, Clearwater, FL.
MRT sponsors contest for IWCE ’98 Mobile Radio Technology magazine is sponsoring a contest to be held at the closing session of the 22nd Annual International Wireless Communications Conference and Expo on April 24. The editorial and sales staffs are asking readers to bring in their oldest issues of the magazine. A grand prize will be awarded to the reader with the oldest issue, with a drawing to break a possible tie. Marketing Managers Joyce Bollegar and Dennis Hegg, and Classified Advertising Representative Dawn Rhoden will host the event, with Editorial Director Don Bishop presenting prizes on behalf of MRT advertisers.
MRT’s first issue premiered in January and February 1983. Since then, MRT has been published monthly covering issues “all over the spectrum” of mobile radio communications.
Motorola chooses Signal for pilot service program Signal Communications Service, Fort Lauderdale, FL, was selected as the service provider in south Florida to participate in a Motorola pilot program, the Motorola System Service Subcontractor Assessment. The program puts the company through a series of rigorous evaluations, tracking, measurements and training that is designed to enhance customer service programs.
The Motorola assessment team evaluated Signal’s ability to service the technical communications system used by city governments, police and fire departments, school systems, hospitals and major corporations. Beyond that, they analyzed Signal’s policies, procedures and process flows for customer service.
Bearcom buys dealerships to expand business Bearcom, Dallas, has been purchasing dealerships as part of its strategy to increase its market share in two-way radio sales and service and to add value to its current product and service offerings. Among companies acquired during the past year are HBE Communications, New Jersey; Racom Communications, Las Vegas; Cleary Communications, Boston; West Coast Radio, Los Angeles; Lipman Group Communications, Hartford, CT; Mobitel Communications, Houston; Tomba Communications, Houston; American Wireless Communications, Chantilly, VA; Cellular City, Las Vegas; Hands-on Communications, Brisbane, Australia; and Motorola Rentals, Schaumburg, IL.
Asked why Bearcom is acquiring businesses in an industry seen by some as less attractive than wireless telephone and messaging services, company president Jerry Denham said, “Two-way radio still provides an excellent solution for site-based applications to avoid recurring costs and increase operating efficiencies. Operating wireless within the confines of your own facility offers efficiencies, the ability to react in a timely manner, and a way to reduce the cost of employees required to handle a situation.”
After searching the country for dealer acquisition prospects, Denham said he is amazed at the scope of dealership networks. “I’ve been finding companies with little public notoriety that have substantial revenue flows and good capabilities,” he said. “There is no one source to find them.”
Of paramount importance for Bearcom is finding ways to provide products with a lower cost basis to improve the company’s customer service capability and to offer a broader range of products.
Denham said Bearcom is “number one in sales dealerships” for two-way radios. “We have sold more Motorola equipment than any other dealer, as well as having success with Maxon, Icom and Tekk.” The company serves two-way radio users from the simplest to the most sophisticated applications. It provides bench-level equipment repair with a depot in Dallas, and offers field engineering, installation and service.
Pagerola becomes GoComm Wireless Pagerola, The Woodlands, TX, has changed its name to GoComm Wireless. Along with the name change, GoComm has moved into new, expanded facilities. Its new address is: GoComm Wireless, 1544 Sawdust Road, Suite 303, The Woodlands, TX 77380; phone: 281-298-2029; fax: 281-298-2863; email: [email protected]; Web site: www.gocomm.com.
Hialeah selects Motorola trunked radio system to improve interagency communication Motorola’s Land Mobile Products Sector, Schaumburg, IL, has sold the city of Hialeah, FL, a new, trunked, public safety two-way radio system for $6.4 million. The 800MHz Smartzone analog system will replace the existing VHF and UHF communications systems currently used by the fire and rescue and police departments and by nine other local government departments and agencies.
The new system will be a three-site, 10-channel system using simulcast technology, a technology designed to provide improved coverage in high-traffic areas and inside buildings. With simulcast, voice messages are transmitted from more than one site at a time. This type of system is designed so that if the signal from one site is unclear or blocked, the signals from the other sites will automatically compensate. With simulcast technology, the transmission is not “handed off” as cellular telphone calls are.
SpaceCom Systems increases Ku-band capabilities at DFW Teleport SpaceCom Systems, Tulsa, OK, has installed an additional geographically diverse uplink system at the Dallas Fort Worth Teleport.
The redundant satellite transmission equipment was to be activated on Jan. 1. The satellite network provider will put the additional satellite uplink system in place to serve as a secondary uplink site for the company’s Ku-band FM Squared transmission service.
The primary purpose of the secondary uplink system in the Dallas area is to enable customers to achieve a quick recovery for their satellite networks, in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster at SpaceCom’s primary uplink site in Chicago.
“It’s a safeguard that we hope our customers will never need to use,” said Bill Hartanovich, SpaceCom’s vice president of operations. “But if Mother Nature completely wipes out our primary uplink in Chicago, we’ll still be able to transmit our customer’s signals.”
This secondary uplink system will sit constantly in “standby” mode, ready to take over transmission duties from SpaceCom’s Chicago International Teleport (CIT). If a natural disaster or other calamity prohibits the CIT from transmitting to SpaceCom’s satellite transponder, SpaceCom’s backup uplink system in Dallas will automatically sense the lack of satellite signal and will begin implementing backup protocols and procedures to take over the uplinking duties.
“In effect, our primary uplink site could be struck down into a pile of rubble, but we would still be able to uplink our customers’ networks,” said Dale Bailey, SpaceCom’s director of technical operations.
Pyramid Industries acquires ETPS, creates new division Pyramid Industries, Erie, PA, has acquired ETPS as successor company to Elgin Telecommunications Power Systems. The new division of Pyramid Industries, Pyramid Power Systems, is part of three existing manufacturing facilities. Pyramid Power Systems develops switchmode power products, system controllers and self-contained small power systems. Products can be provided for large central office requirements, cellular and PCS sites, OEM and system support requirements.
Consumers dominate paging PageTrac ’97, a study by The Strategis Group, revealed a radical shift in the customer composition of the paging industry. Over the last five years, the number of personal paging users grew from 4 million to more than 21 million.
While the number of intense business users grew from 9.2 million to 12.5 million between 1993 and 1997, the percentage of total users with little or no business usage of their pager expanded from 23% in 1993 to 46% in 1997. Almost 70% of new paging users are personal paging users.
The study also found that personal paging users are much younger than traditional business subscribers. Half of personal users are under the age of 29, compared to 18% of business users. While carriers and manufacturers are currently targeting the teenage market segment, this data indicates huge growth among twenty-something consumers.
Operators face new opportunities for brand differentiation of paging services. Personal paging users are much more likely to know the name of their provider than business customers, according to the report.
News notes. . . Bogen Communications International, Ramsey, NJ, has completed its repurchase of the 64% interest in the company owned by Geotek Communications, Montvale, NJ. Geotek, meanwhile, is to equip the New Jersey Department of Transportation with automatic vehicle location software and a communications system to speed assistance for stranded or incapacitated motorists. The company also landed a $2 million contract with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority . . . Metrocall, Alexandria, VA, has purchased paging terminals and gateways from TekNow, Phoenix . . . FCC Administrative Law Judge John M. Frysiak has recommended that all licenses held by Marc D. Sobel dba Air Wave Communications, Los Angeles, be revoked. Sobel’s attorney, Robert J. Keller, said: “We intend to submit a timely appeal. The judge does not acknowledge, much less address, the evidence we presented.” . . . The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, Washington, has produced Siting Wireless Antennas: An Introduction, a guide for federal land managers.
Intek Diversified, Princeton, NJ, has converted repayment terms of debt worth $23 million owed to its principal shareholder, Securicor Communications, to set back principal payments to July 2001. Securicor also agreed to invest $15 million cash for a new class of preferred stock. In a separate action, Intek’s board has allocated $1 million to repurchase as much as 1% of the 42 million common shares outstanding . . . CyComm International, McLean, VA, is set to acquire Omnidata International, which makes hand-held computers and communications systems used on private radio networks by public safety agencies and commercial vehicle operators . . . Ram Mobile Data, Woodbridge, NJ, is teaming with Microsoft, Redmond, WA, to promote application development for Windows CE . . . Arch Communications Group, Westborough, MA, has agreed to sell its site management business to Telecom Towers, Arlington, VA, for $40 million.
The city of Albuquerque, NM, in cooperation with Bernalillo County, has contracted Ericsson, Lynchburg, VA, to provide police and fire communications . . . Pathnet, Washington, will upgrade Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative’s internal communications network with digital technology . . . Transcrypt International, Lincoln, NE, has won a $5.6 million contract from Rensselaer County, NY, that includes five 800MHz Multi-Net II simulcast trunked radio sites . . . Enron, Houston, will use Motorola Flex technology and Mobile Telecommunication Technologies’ network to read electric meters remotely.
Orbcomm Global, Dulles, VA, has installed eight of 10 planned earth-orbiting satellites for its two-way data and messaging network intended for monitoring industrial assets, for tracking mobile assets and for exchanging two-way messages for recreational, commercial, military and automotive purposes.