PCIA changes recall NABER with focus on private radio, towers
A slimmed-down Personal Communications Industry Association has shed its annual GlobalXChange trade show, its Global Initiative service to “mobile convergence” companies, its LifePage program that gives pagers and paging service to patients awaiting organ transplants, and 14 employees.
PCIA retains its spectrum management business, including its land mobile radio frequency coordination operations and microwave clearinghouse. It continues its Tower and Site Management Forum conference. And its staffing level now is about 40 employees, well off its peak in excess of 100, several years ago.
PCIA started nearly 50 years ago as the National Association of Radio Telephone Systems, representing non-wireline mobile telephone carriers with VHF systems licensed in the old Mobile Telephone Service. Its non-wireline tradition carried over into its representation of paging carriers under the name Telocator Network of America, a name that lasted much longer than a promotion to call pagers “telocators” instead of “beepers.”
The same non-wireline tradition followed with Telocator’s representation of cellular carriers and was changed—too late—to allow wireline membership. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association accepted wireline carriers from the start. As wireline carriers bought out non-wireline carriers, CTIA eventually defeated PCIA in head-to-head competition for 800MHz cellular carrier members.
Telocator’s name change to the Personal Communications Industry Association in part reflected a move to sign up carriers in the 900MHz narrowband (paging) and 2GHz wideband (wireless telephone) Personal Communications Service, but CTIA also prevailed with PCS telephone carriers.
In 1994, a land mobile radio trade group, the National Association of Business and Educational Radio, merged with PCIA. Tom Stroup, PCIA’s president, had resigned a few months before. With the merger, Jay Kitchen, NABER’s president, took the top spot at PCIA.
With the current changes, PCIA comes closer to resembling the old NABER in its involvement with private radio and communications towers than its historical representation of common carriers. And Kitchen is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the land mobile radio-oriented International Wireless Communications Expo trade show next week, his first appearance at IWCE in several years. (IWCE is owned by Primedia Business, the publisher of this magazine.)
PCIA membership sections that continue include:
- Mobile Wireless Communications Alliance
— for members that deliver product and services such as two-way radios, on-site paging and messaging systems, mobile data products, design, integration, programming and network services.
- Private System Users Alliance
— for FCC licensees with large private, wireless communications systems, including transportation, insurance, utilities and business radio.
- Site Owners and Managers Alliance
— for organizations that operate, manage, own or lease wireless telecommunication towers and transmission facilities.
A membership section undergoing review in light of extensive financial reversals in the paging industry is:
- Paging and Messaging Alliance
— for common and private carriers licensed by the FCC to deliver paging and short messaging service for businesses and consumers.
And the discontinued membership section is:
- Global Initiative
— for companies such as Visa, MasterCard and TicketMaster with an interest in the convergence of Internet and mobile commerce.
The following membership section was discontinued last year:
- Personal Communications Service Alliance
— a forum for corporate pursuit of the new generation of wireless services. Members include cellular, paging and local exchange carriers, regional Bell operating companies, computer and cable service providers and original equipment manufacturers.