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Time Trippin’: The move to wireless data; spectrum needs rise … 14 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!

GSM carriers need to exploit data
Act now! GSM carriers need to deploy wireless data today, speakers told Global System for Mobile communications operators at last week’s GSM in North America conference here. Carriers need to get data applications into the hands of consumers before next-generation data-centric networks come along, namely General Radio Packet Services, or GPRS, networks. The possibilities for wireless data services running across packet-based networks in the future are endless, ranging from personalized maps to instant account status to custom advertisements. … Read More

Wireless access to the Internet yields big returns for carriers
The astounding success of NTT DoCoMo’s mobile Internet access service is a resounding note of affirmation to proponents of wireless Web services, said Crispin K. Vicars at the Yankee Group’s conference Nov. 8. By the end of September, DoCoMo’s wireless Internet service had 1.7 million customers, and it expects that number to mushroom to 4 million by year-end, he said at Yankee’s meeting, “Mobile.Net: The Next Generation of Wireless.” Average revenue per user is about $12.50, including a $2.50 fixed service fee and 100 packets daily, which translates to about $7.50 in user charges. At that rate, Japan’s largest wireless carrier can expect $270 million of new revenues in 1999 from Internet services. … Read More

Crown to acquire GTE towers, companies sign build-to-suit deal
Crown Castle International Corp. plans to acquire about 2,300 towers through a joint venture with GTE Corp. Crown Castle has a similar joint venture agreement with Bell Atlantic Corp., which is in the process of acquiring GTE. Including the GTE towers, Crown Castle controls about 8,000 towers in the United States and about 2,000 towers in the United Kingdom. In addition, Crown Castle and GTE agreed to a five-year build-to-suit agreement for 500 towers. The joint venture with GTE could result in additional towers being added to Crown’s portfolio. … Read More

Microsoft antitrust ruling charges wireless competitors
As the wireless industry continues its journey toward the convergence of wireless and Internet, many have kept a wary eye on Microsoft Corp. to determine where wireless concerns can fit in a paradigm held by computer interests. After all, competing in the same space as the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse has often proven fatal to several companies. Its iron grip on developers and corner on the desktop PC market left little air for others to breath. But last week’s federal antitrust ruling against the software giant points to the weakening role Microsoft could play in the future of the Internet. Even before the ruling, Microsoft rivals such as the Symbian group and Phone.com Inc. were victorious against the once seemingly invincible Microsoft. … Read More

Tower firms switch from acquisitions to execution
The agreement between Crown Castle International Corp. and GTE Corp. by many accounts eliminated the last major carrier tower portfolio on the market and capped off a year of massive and frenzied consolidation of tower assets into a handful of increasingly large hands. Several tower company executives and industry analysts speaking at last week’s 1999 Tower Summit & Trade Show in Las Vegas, sponsored by Shorecliff Communications Inc. and RCR, indicated a shift is beginning to occur in the tower industry. The focus, they said, is changing from trying to gain critical mass through large acquisitions to execution, including integrating towers and leasing them. … Read More

Va. Supreme Court rules siting approvals must be local
In a major setback to Bell Atlantic Mobile and AT&T Wireless Services Inc., the Virginia Supreme Court ruled wireless carriers must have local approval to erect towers on state-owned property. The decision complicates a 1997 agreement by the Virginia Department of Transportation to let AT&T and BAM build 30 mobile phone transmitters along busy highways in northern Virginia. VDOT, in turn, would receive $150,000 in rent from the carriers spanning 10 years and can attach cameras to the monopoles to monitor traffic flow. … Read More

SMRs (and the rest of the industry) need more spectrum
The No. 1 issue for the wireless telecommunications industry is access to additional spectrum, whether it is the incumbent cellular operators wanting the spectrum cap lifted (and start-up operator attempts to thwart that), spectrum for third-generation wireless or uses for spectrum made available with the transition to digital TV. The specialized mobile radio community is no different. “Our people need more spectrum to grow,” said Alan Shark, president of the American Mobile Telecommunications Association. … Read More

RCC will double customers with Triton Cellular buy
Rural Cellular Corp. announced its subsidiary, RCC Holdings Inc., entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the cellular telephone licenses, operations and related assets of Triton Cellular Partners L.P. for $1.24 billion. Triton Cellular covers about 2.4 million people in Alabama, northern Mississippi, western Kansas, Oregon and Washington. The company’s 209,000 cellular customers will increase RCC’s customer base from 244,000 to 453,000, RCC said. … Read More

N.A. GSM operators celebrate roaming progress
North American Global System for Mobile communications operators had an upbeat story to tell international GSM carriers this year at the GSM in North America conference last week. Last year’s conference saw frustrated European and other international GSM operators that had hoped GSM technology deployments in North America would mean roaming for their customers into the United States. Omnipoint Corp. was by then the only operator that had made significant strides in securing international roaming agreements. Today, the seven largest GSM operators have roaming agreements with a minimum of 50 international GSM operators. By Jan. 1, each will launch roaming with an additional 25 international carriers and each expects to have a minimum of 125 launches by April. … Read More

U.S. may be shifting 3G spectrum stance
The Clinton administration, bowing to industry pressure here and across the Atlantic, last week signaled for the first time a willingness to consider supporting global harmonization of third-generation mobile spectrum at next year’s World Radiocommunication Conference in Turkey. The decision to restart 3G spectrum negotiations was announced at a closed meeting between government and industry officials last Wednesday at the FCC. … Read More

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