High stakes and fierce competition in the Federal Communications Commission’s personal communications service auctions have shown no mercy for the weak of heart of the pocketbook. And June Walsh is no exception.
President and owner of Eureka, Calif.-based Cal Autofone and Redding, Calif.-based REPCO (Radio Electronic Products Co.), Walsh brings more than 25 years of telecommunication experience to the table. Both companies are involved in paging and conventional mobile telephone services in Norhtern California. Cal Autofone also provides cellular messaging services and REPCO is a cellular reseller.
Benbow PCS Ventures Inc. -a 50.1 percent-49.9 percent partnership between Walsh’s enterprises and Robert Meizer, president and chief executive officer of Westlink Paging, respectively-invested more than $35 million for two regional narrowband PCS licenses awarded in November.
“We have had a long business relationship that now has turned into what I hope and believe will be a very fruitful partnership,” says Walsh of Meizer.
Benbow was the highest bidder for 50 megahertz/12.5 megahertz paired licenses in the Western and Central regions of the United States.
Walsh entered the telecommunications industry in high school, working nights and weekends as a mobile telephone operator at her father’s company in Bakersfield, Calif. She and her five siblings were encouraged to enter the family business, and that obviously left an impression. Four of the siblings have stayed on in the family business, while two-including June-have left the family business buy stayed within the telecom industry.
Walsh started in management with Cal Autofone in 1971, then purchased it and its sister company, REPCO, in 1987.
In 1980, Walsh was the first woman elected to the board of directors for the Personal Communications Industry Association. Another first was being elected president of Allied Radio Telephone Utilities of California, where she negotiated an interconnection agreement with Pacific Bell for California Radio Telephone Utilities that achieved landmark provisions and set a precedent for other RTU’s in similar situations.
Walsh’s list of accomplishments also includes teaching and legislative lobbying endeavors. She was voted Woman of the Year in 1984, and award presented by the Eureka Business and Professional Women.
However, of her numerous achievements, Walsh said her mist significant career achievement is to have been highest bidder for the two regional PCS licenses.
What does Walsh see for narrowband PCS? “A quantum leap in paging technology … PCS features enormous information capacity. This makes possible a wide array of new high-value, low-cost wireless services,” explains Walsh. The two licenses provide exclusive rights to offer PCS on the 900 MHz band within a 21-state region, including the Pacific and Gulf Coasts and the Rocky Mountain area.
While it’s difficult to be certain the course PCS will take, Walsh is prepared to venture forth into this new business. Walsh says she and partner, Meizer, “plan to build and operate a very competitive PCS business,” and does not rule out the possibility that they might participate in future auctions.