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RESEARCH SAYS CARRIERS LIMITED IN PROVIDING BUSINESS SERVICES

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-Eighty-two percent of business cellular subscribers want a single wireless handset that can be used as an office phone indoors and as a mobile phone outdoors, concludes a two-year study conducted by Alexander Resources Inc.

Alexander said the biggest threat to cellular and personal communications services carriers is the inability to use a wireless phone as an office telephone. It also represents the greatest hurdle in achieving the one phone and one phone number capability envisioned for new cellular and PCS systems, the company said.

“With 9.7 million business users accounting for 34 percent of all cellular subscribers and 63 percent of all cellular revenue, not meeting their needs for WBCS (wireless business communications systems) can have serious long-term consequences for any cellular or PCS carriers,” said Jerry Kaufman, president of Alexander.

The company predicts that these customer needs will be met by carriers offering new wireless business communications systems. The new systems use radio signals to link a wireless telephone to a business’ existing public branch exchange, Centrex or Key telephone system. Alexander said the WBCS allows these new wireless telephones to operate as a standard business telephone indoors, without airtime charges, and as a standard cellular or PCS phone outdoors. Companies such as AT&T Corp., Panasonic, Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems, Vanguard Cellular Inc. and Comcast Cellular Communications Inc. already have introduced WBCS in the United States, Alexander said.

The company predicts that annual U.S. sales of WBCS systems and phones will reach $2.45 billion by 2001.

Cable & Wireless not planning BT merger

LONDON-Cable & Wireless plc confirmed that discussions of a merger with British Telecommunications have ceased.

“The board considered [the merger] and concluded it was not in the best interest of our customers, shareholders and partners,” commented Peter Eustace, media relations manager for Cable & Wireless.

BT approached Cable & Wireless shortly after Cable & Wireless Chairman David Young and Chief Executive Officer James Ross resigned from the company last November, said Eustace. Personality conflicts between Young and Ross led to a decision that both would leave the company, added Eustace. He would not comment whether the two left of their own will or if their departure was an action of the company.

Brian Smith has since been appointed chairman of Cable & Wireless. Rod Olsen, the company’s financial director is acting CEO, but an active search is underway to fill the position, said Eustace.

Nextel to relocate to Washington area

RUTHERFORD, N.J.-Nextel Communications Inc. announced it will relocate its national headquarters to Washington, D.C.

The company said many of the functions located at the new facility will be consolidated from Nextel’s existing head-office operations in Rutherford, N.J., Denver, Lafayette, Calif., and Atlanta. Nextel previously announced it would relocate to Seattle.

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