American Messaging Systems Inc. is entering the two-way market with an alternative to ReFLEX that provides high system capacity, quick time to market and helps carriers cut costs, said the company.

AMS is an equal joint venture of Minneapolis-based American Paging and Nexus Telecommunications Systems Ltd. of Israel, formed to implement and promote Nexus’ spread spectrum, frequency-hopping technology. The technology is being used as an add-on return channel to existing one-way paging networks.

Samsung Telecommunications America is the exclusive provider of Nexus-based subscriber equipment. The company debuted its TAG two-way pager last fall. The product will be commercially available this quarter, said Paul Fay, national sales manager for Samsung Telecommunications America, wireless.

AMS is enlisting carriers, investors and other third parties to form agreements for deploying networks.

“Carriers can buy their own system and purchase Nexus transceivers at the same sites as their paging transmitters,” said Robert Stevenson, national director of sales for AMS. Or, they can join forces to build networks. “The infrastructure can be shared,” said Stevenson. This is “its unique property.”

Nexus’ technology is derived from military technology. In two-way beta tests, the protocol-which operates at a low baud rate-performed at a 1: 1 transmitter to transceiver ratio, said Stevenson.

Using the “piggy back” protocol equates to less buildout cost than constructing a new network and costs nothing for spectrum, as it runs in the 900 MHz unlicensed frequency band. If carriers jointly own a network, they can further reduce their cost of infrastructure, buildout, operations, interconnect fees and airtime charges, explained Stevenson. For a carrier that wants complete ownership, it still could resell airtime to offset costs, he added.

American Paging and AirTouch Paging have tested the Nexus technology along with a number of other carriers. AMS has conducted beta tests in Chicago and Minneapolis and plans to start beta tests in Dallas and New York. A few carriers are expected to announce soon their plans for using Nexus’ technology.

Samsung’s TAG unit provides users with basic acknowledgment functions plus the ability to send messages and communicate with other TAG pagers, said Stevenson.

“That’s an advantage. With ReFLEX there’s no initiation of messaging, only responding to a network downlink,” he said. Stevenson noted, however, the Nexus system will not store pages if the user is off the system, as does Motorola Inc.’s ReFLEX. If a message sent to a TAG pager is not received after several attempts by the network, it is lost, but still the sender is notified, said Stevenson. “There is always closure.”

To initiate or respond to a message, TAG users can choose from sixteen preprogrammed messages or create new messages by modifying the preprogrammed ones. A stored message, “meet me at work,” could become “meet me at school.”

Messages sent to a TAG pager are delivered like a one-way alphanumeric message, but with an added function-a return address. Senders reach an interactive voice response system that asks where they wish an acknowledgment to be delivered-a landline or wireless phone, fax machine, pager or other device. When the TAG user acknowledges the message, it automatically transmits to that address.

A future generation of TAG will offer a “free text” function that allows users to create personal messages, said Stevenson.

Samsung and AMS are targeting business users, particularly the high-end alphanumeric users interested in adding the response capability, said Fay. The TAG will retail for less than $200, but Fay said the unit and service will be marketed as a package that costs more than current alphanumeric service and less than the average plan for cellular and personal communications services.

A second generation TAG, compatible with the FLEX protocol, will be introduced by fourth quarter, said Fay. Today’s TAG operates with Pocsag.

Samsung is relocating its Florida headquarters to Richardson, Texas, where pagers and wireless handsets will be assembled. The Richardson site will include a fulfillment center and the company will fill parts orders and ship equipment for pagers and phones.

In the late 1980s Samsung was shipping pagers directly from Japan to a few U.S. carriers, but not until 1992 did the company set out to market its products full bore, said Fay. A business plan was drawn, he was recruited in 1994 and later that year Samsung’s American business was selling numeric pagers. Samsung continues to manufacture all its pagers in South Korea.

Nexus’ technology has applications in other fields including telemetry and vehicle/person location services, and the company has systems operational in Russia and Australia.

American Paging is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Telephone & Data Systems. The paging carrier won five regional narrowband PCS licenses, owns a nationwide private carrier paging network and local and regional paging spectrum.


Editorial Reports

White Papers


Featured Content