VIEWPOINT

It has been a year since I left a high-tech computer magazine to join RCR Publications. After five years as a techie writer and editor, I decided to try something new. I chuckled when a colleague said I was foolish to leave the growing desktop mapping field.

I thought, I guess that depends on what you are leaving it for. If I left the computer software field to edit Thumbtacks and Pushpins Monthly, the statement would have been warranted. But I joined the newspaper for the wireless communications industry and it has been an interesting and exciting year.

I sat eating my corn flakes in Denver watching the morning news before work last Monday as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association show was beginning in Dallas. The business reporter cited CTIA’s wireless industry survey reporting nearly 10 million new cellular customers added in 1995. The anchors responded with amazed faces, but I’ll bet they each own a cellular phone-or will soon.

In 1992 a friend was selling phones for Cellular One at $250 and up for the then-bulky handsets. His targets were businesses and salespeople and he would make cold calls to try and raise interest in cellular. We lived in a smaller town and some months sales were tough to come by. I would tell him, “Everyone who wants one of those things probably already has one. Get into another business.” I guess I couldn’t have been more wrong since I never thought I would have one but now I do-even my grandparents carry a cellular phone.

The popular press sure was paying attention to wireless last week.

The Wall Street Journal’s report on the CTIA show last week said that cellular is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. I guess that is obvious to those of us who are involved in it. The consumer market-my grandparents-are the fastest growing segment of the industry.

The New York Times, reporting on the same conference, commented last week on Sprint Spectrum’s success in Washington. The story said personal communications services is going to come after the cellular market “like a freight train.”

Sprint claims to have “stolen” customers from cellular. Bell Atlantic Nynex Mobile and Southwestern Bell say different in our article in this issue.

With the freedoms of the new telecom law and A- and B-band PCS licensees getting up and running, I can only imagine a consumer’s market and plenty of interesting news to report in the coming months and years. As the C-block auction approaches the unimagined $10 billion mark with a single market garnering more than $1 billion it is hard to predict how the details ultimately will work out.

I knew when I started this job the subject matter would be anything but dull. On that point I was right.

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