YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesSMALLER PCS PLAYERS STARTING TO SIGN ORDERS FOR LOW-TIER PCS

SMALLER PCS PLAYERS STARTING TO SIGN ORDERS FOR LOW-TIER PCS

Companies offering microcellular systems are starting to receive contract orders, and expect more when the D-, E- and F-block auctions are over in the next couple of months.

Ericsson Inc. has signed its first U.S. contract for a SuperCordless portable phone network, with ComScape Telecommunications Inc. of Columbus, Ohio.

ComScape holds the C-block license for the Charleston, W.V., basic trading area. ComScape hopes to begin DECT service in some Charleston clusters by next year’s second quarter, with other areas going on line in late 1997.

The SuperCordless system is based on the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone standard of Europe, with roots in Time Division Multiple Access technology.

A competing product is offered by PACS Edge. That product has been sold to two C-block licensees, 21st Century Telesis and Windkeeper Communications.

PACS is a hybrid technology developed in the United States and promoted by Hughes Network Systems Inc., Siemens-Stromberg Carlson and Bell Communication Research Inc.

Both are cordless phone services that, at this time, don’t offer the extensive mobility of cellular, but promise near-landline voice quality and lower buildout costs. DECT sites are about 30 feet high and use compact antennas.

Ericsson’s five-year contract with ComScape is estimated at $100 million. It will consist of Ericsson’s AXE 10 central office switch, radio exchange units, base stations and handsets. The radio exchange unit connects to the AXE switching system, which connects the SuperCordless handsets to the public telephone network.

ComScape expects it will need 10 to 15 megahertz of its 30 megahertz of spectrum to deploy DECT. With the remaining spectrum, a Global System for Mobile communications network will probably be laid over the DECT system, said Ghanshyam Patel, chairman and chief executive officer of ComScape.

Handsets might be dual-mode DECT/analog cellular, Patel said. The company also would consider dual-mode DECT/GSM handsets at the appropriate time in the future, he said.

Ericsson has announced it will introduce a DECT/GSM phone the first half of next year.

ComScape will market the system to both the business community and individuals. DECT systems can be constructed inside buildings, upon request, and outside in business communities. The systems can be used to cover neighborhoods or shopping malls.

SuperCordless is a good fit for Charleston, which has a concentrated population, said Doug Smith, vice president of sales for Ericsson Inc. Network Systems.

“The system doesn’t require frequency planning because all base stations support all channels,” Smith said.

ComScape also is bidding in the D-, E- and F-block auctions. The company used the name PCS Mobile America Inc. in the C-block auction.

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