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Time Trippin’: PCS talk of the industry; tech standards provide challenge … 18 years ago this week

Editor’s Note: The RCR Wireless News Time Machine is a way to take advantage of our extensive history in covering the wireless space to fire up the DeLorean and take a trip back in time to re-visit some of the more interesting headlines from this week in history. Enjoy the ride!

PCS demands new job market, variety of professional needs
The personal communications services industry is buzzing with discussions of technology, the consumer, equipment infrastructure, merging, financing, site acquisition, capitalization, innovation, deregulation, litigation and the list goes on. However, the tremendous job market opening up in PCS and affiliated businesses has been understated. PCS companies are hiring personnel from cellular competitors, recent graduates, computer scientists and some from outside the industry altogether. And when there’s no one left to hire, they hire recruitment firms to hire people, said Bob White, president of Pennington Consulting Group. … Read More

PCS players might be let down by actual picture of the market
Personal communications services developers-both veterans and rookies-are preparing to gorge themselves on the mass market for anytime, anywhere communications. It certainly is a time of high hopes, great expectations and crazy energy coming before an eventual and inevitable industry shakeout. Such a shakeout may force developers back to the original vision of what PCS is all about and finally benefit the object of all this competition-the consumer. “It was intended to be a low-tier service offering,” said Peter Nighswander, director of PCS market research at Economic and Management Consultants International Inc. “In the early days it will probably only displace a small fraction of cellular users. Over the long term, I think PCS will try to wiggle into the local loop by taking a hybrid approach, providing both in-office use and personal use out of the office.” … Read More

Policymakers ponder how PCS will fit into telecom big picture
The regulatory environment for personal communications services is still evolving as policymakers try to determine how next-generation pocket telephone systems fit into a telecommunications industry undergoing historic change and evaluate what that means to society. The issues are complex, with advocacy groups on all sides trying to gain an advantage because the economic stakes are high in a business that promises to put a digital pocket telephone in most everyone’s hand one day soon. … Read More

PCS firms prepare for rollout, plans are based on technology
As the entrepreneurial block auctions for broadband personal communications services get underway this December, the first broadband PCS services also are scheduled to become reality. But a later rollout schedule is par for the course among major PCS license holders, resulting in part from technology delays. Within the next few months American Personal Communications, awarded a pioneer’s preference license by the Federal Communications Commission, plans to introduce its PCS service-based on Global Systems for Mobile communications technology-initially covering 65% of the population in its Washington, D.C./Baltimore major trading area. … Read More

Seven standards cause users to seek others using protocol
Wireless operators continue to line up behind one of the seven technologies that will be used for personal communications services, solidifying the formation of PCS technology camps and leading to several arms-length partnerships. The most recent protocol announcement came from Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems Inc., which selected the Interim Standard-136 upbanded version of Time Division Multiple Access technology. Southwestern Bell is building PCS networks in Little Rock, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., and Tulsa, Okla. The company also uses TDMA for its cellular networks. … Read More

Cable operators choose CDMA as the financially smart option
While the personal communications services industry in general remains locked in a three-way split over an airlink standard for systems deployment, cable TV operators in the PCS business so far have pitched their tents in the Code Division Multiple Access camp. CDMA got a large boost this summer when the Sprint Telecommunications Venture shocked some in the industry by opting for spread-spectrum technology over Global System for Mobile communications. But although it’s a strong endorsement, it doesn’t necessarily represent a standard for the cable world. Even Sprint hasn’t entirely ruled out GSM. … Read More

AirTouch and U.S. West create management group for venture
AirTouch Communications Inc. and U S West Inc. announced they will begin combining their domestic cellular operations Nov. 1, initially by using the same support services. The companies will continue to remain separately owned, however, because of federal restrictions. The companies’ Wireless Management Co., formed to serve as a single management resource, will begin providing support services to both AirTouch and U S West’s domestic cellular operations. This is the first phase of the companies’ joint venture agreement announced about one year ago. … Read More

AT&T names 3 new executives, Mandl leads service transition
AT&T Corp. announced new executives to head the three companies resulting from the split of AT&T announced a month ago by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Allen. Allen will continue in his posts at the new AT&T and Alex Mandl, currently president and CEO of AT&T’s Communications Services Group, will serve as president and chief operating officer of the new services company. Mandl is overseeing the transition from the current AT&T to the new business. The chairman and CEO-designate of the communications systems and technology company is Henry Schacht, currently a senior adviser to E.M. Warburg-Pincus and previously chairman and CEO of Cummins Engine Company Inc. … Read More

Mobile satellite companies find resistance joining Wall St. club
Fearing fratricide in the sky, Wall Street is losing its ardor for backing risky telecommunications ventures with junk bonds. In recent weeks, mobile satellite service developers Iridium Inc. and Globalstar L.P. have had to scrap high-yield, high-risk debt offerings after meeting resistance from the investment community. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Group assigned a scathing “CCC+” rating to Iridium’s $300 million senior subordinated discount notes due 2005 offering in August. Iridium-backed by Motorola Inc.-sought the bond financing to fund the development, construction and deployment of 66 low-earth-orbit satellites and related gateway equipment. … Read More

Not all microwave incumbents are onerous about relocations
While some microwave incumbents are being unreasonable, others are negotiating fairly, reaching agreements and making plans to move their microwave links from the 2 GHz spectrum, according to telecom and utility people involved in the process. Businesses with microwave links at 2 GHz are being asked to move, with the PCS provider obligated to provide the microwave operator with a comparative system at a 6 GHz site. Microwave users are primarily utilities, petroleum companies, state and local governments and railroads. … Read More

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