BellSouth Cellular Corp. is marketing cellular phones in Kroger supermarkets. Once purchased, the phnoes can be activated within 10 to 20 minutes in the store. Kiosks and cellular salespeople already are stationed in stores throughout BellSouth’s Indianapolis, Nashville, Huntsville, Ala., and Clarksville, Tenn., markets. BellSouth expects grocery to be a successful retail outlet because it is convenient and reches women betewwn the ages of 25 and 44, a fast-growing consumer segment.
Ericsson Inc. received a contract to rebuild and upgrade the capacity and service quality of Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems’ cellular operation in Syracuse, Utica and Watertown, N.Y. The initial system configuration is expected to be completed by first quarter 1996, Ericsson said. It will include high-capacity digital switching centers with a combined Home Location Register intelligent network node and cellular sites consisting of dual-mode base stations.
Cellular One of Ohio and Michigan said it designed a new cellular roaming program based on bands, or areas of the country, and individual rate plans. Four different types of bands, defined by a region’s frequency of travel, blanket the nation, under the new plan. Customers are considered either a Neighbor, Traveler or Explorer, based on their individual roaming needs. Each category of customer receives a different rate in the various bands. The closer users are to their “home” market, the more cost-effective their roaming.
Pacific Communication Sciences Inc. has formed a strategic partnership with ComputerLand San Diego to provide cellular digital packet data subscriber products to customers nationwide. CDPD is a technology standard for transmitting packetized data over the cellular infrastructure. Through the alliance, ComputerLand will purchase and integrate PCSI’s Ubiquity 1000 for use with IBM Corp.’s ThinkPad 750 and 360 series laptop computers, and the Ubiquity 2000 for laptops using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.
Cellular One offers an anti-fraud measure to all San Francisco Bay area customers as a free service option. The Fraud Protection Feature, incorporating a personal identification number, was first introduced in January to selected customers traveling in Los Angeles. Customers use a four-digit PIN to unlock their phones before each call and the safety feature is activated whenever the customer is not using the phone. The system offers protection from possible cloning of wireless phone numbers.
Metricom Inc. has partnered with PepData Inc., a subsidiary of Potomac Electric Power Co., to establish a wireless data communications network in the Washington, D.C., area. Los Gatos, Calif.-based Metricom will supply its Ricochet technology and install and operate the network, while Washington-based PEPCO is investing $7 million for a 20 percent stake in the venture. Ricochet is based on frequency hopping technology and supports laptop, desktop and personal digital assistant computers, enabling users to transmit e-mail and access to on-line information such as Internet, America Online and CompuServe.