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#TBT: Cutting-edge products from CES ’97; paging for LBS … this week in 1997

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Samsung builds a million-dollar paging network in Shanghai

SEOUL, South Korea-Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said it has completed construction of a $1 million paging system in Shanghai, China, that can handle 1.2 million subscribers. The company said it delivered the turnkey project to Shanghai Guomai Communications Co. Ltd. The project began in October. China is the second largest paging market in the world, after the United States. More than 25 million Chinese already use paging service, according to world reports, and Samsung said it expects paging networks will cover 20 percent of China’s 30 million citizens by the turn of the century. The Chinese government’s plans for future telecommunications include building millions of new telephone lines to support an estimated 6 million new paging customers. Both nationwide and regional paging licenses have been granted in recent years, and foreign companies have poured into China with business propositions. … Read more

Post-merger hangovers seen as a risk in the new year
NEW YORK-Seven key developments promise significant changes in the telecommunications industry in 1997, according to a newly released global outlook by A.T. Kearney, Arlington, Va. (1) Merger activity within and across markets will be accompanied by skyrocketing demand for high-capacity networks. As a result, regional Bell operating companies will begin to receive regulatory approval for in-region long-distance service. The merged Bell Atlantic Corp. and Nynex Corp. will negotiate to join the British Telecommunications plc/MCI Telecommunications Corp. combination. By the end of 1997, Ameritech Corp. and US West Inc. will merge. Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc. will be fighting off merger offers. Only BellSouth Corp. likely will stand alone. “Wireless isn’t part of the causation, but there will be an effect with respect to wireless,” said Joseph Kraemer, vice president of A.T. Kearney’s Telecommunications Consulting Group and author of the 1997 outlook.
A series of smaller mergers, often involving wireless services, will occur around the larger ones as companies seek to aggregate into larger-scale enterprises. Wireless communications will become part of a cluster of service offerings that are transparent to users in terms of their mode of transmission, Kraemer said. (2) The rush to merge will lead to post-merger traumas. One of the biggest potential dangers is that talented MCI management will leave the BT/MCI combination if British Telecom focuses capital on Europe and if questions persist about the partnership’s added value. … Read more

Cutting-edge products from CES 1997: 140 minutes of talk time! Dot matrix display!

Audiovox Communications Corp. will introduce three new phones at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. Its 800/900 MHz combination phone, the ACT-900, acts as both a cellular phone and a cordless phone. Features of the ACT-900 include 120 minutes of talk time and 31 hours of standby time, one touch emergency dialing, 75 alphanumeric memory locations with alpha search, last number redial, keypad lock, a variety of ring tones and other cellular and cordless features. The company also will introduce the CDM-2000 at CES, a Code Division Multiple Access dual-mode cellular phone which features 140 minutes of digital talk time or 85 minutes of analog talk time and 22 hours of digital standby time or 10.5 hours of analog standby. Finally, the company will introduce an addition to its Minivox family of cellular phones, the MVX-440 and MVX-470 phones. The phones feature 140 minutes of talk time and 31 hours of standby time, one touch programmable emergency dialing, constant battery life indicator, last three number redial memory and analog authentication. Oki Telecom Inc. added the 1430 portable cellular phone to its line of Advanced Mobile Phone Service/Narrowband AMPS authenticatible cellular phones. The 1430 has a 4 x 12 dot matrix display with on-screen programming, dedicated emergency key, three number assignment modules and 90 memory locations which store both names and numbers. Accessories including extended life Nickel Cadmium and Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, vehicle power adapters, rapid charger kit and leather carrying case also are available for the phone. … Read more

Philips makes a play for the US handset market
A few more pieces have fallen into place for the Philips Consumer Communications division as it pulls together its wireless handset sales machine to build a brand name in the United States. The Philips brand is well known in Europe, but Philips downplayed its own name in favor of its Magnavox brand in the Americas, said Matthew Wolk, vice president of marketing for the Americas. “Now we will be spending significant dollars on advertising campaigns linking Philips to the Magnavox name, and we think a [Philips] brand will be established,” he said. Philips’ first wireless product for the Americas will be the Fizz analog cellular phone, to be introduced Jan. 9. Philips Consumer Communications recently broke ground in Fremont, Calif., for a facility that will build digital and analog cellular phones. Research and development also will be conducted in Fremont. U.S. headquarters for Philips Consumer is in Irving, Texas, just outside of Dallas. Digital handsets built for the Americas will support both Code Division Multiple Access and Time Division Multiple Access standards. … Read more

Paging for positioning? Don’t be a doubting THOMAS
Becoming separated from their child at a circus or stadium is one of every parent’s worst nightmares. Norcross, Ga.-based Touchscreen Solutions is addressing that fear by using digital wireless technology for a location and messaging service aimed at theme parks, concert venues, shopping malls, fairs, stadiums and other large park and recreation areas. “In today’s safety conscious society, this service is expected to be extremely popular,” said Fulton County, Ga., Sheriff Reserve Gary German. “We get lost children and adults at our command posts all day and night. It’s not easy to have to tell people to patiently wait for missing loved ones to return to them, especially when you have no idea where they are.” The system is named THOMAS for Temporary Host-Operated Message Alert System. Developed by a Canadian company, THOMAS uses a ranging system that operates at 900 MHz within a low bandwidth that doesn’t interfere with cellular frequencies, said Jeff Jarvis, chief executive officer of Touchscreen Solutions. Users wear a watch-like wristband that uses two-way paging principles adapted for “position-finding” purposes, the company said. THOMAS works with a network of free-standing kiosks placed throughout a venue. The network is able to determine the height of an individual according to the signal strength emitted from the wristband to the antennae on the kiosk. The system can find the location of a person by determining where antenna signals intersect. … Read more

Comcast launches prepaid cellular service in Philly

WAYNE, Pa.-Comcast Cellular Communications Inc. launched its Prepaid Advanced Cellular service in Philadelphia, central and southern New Jersey, Delaware and parts of Maryland. The PAC plan allows customers to prepay for cellular service in $60 increments. A recording at the beginning of each call keeps subscribers informed of how much money remains in their account. Once the balance reaches zero, customers may replenish their airtime by calling a special number or visiting a Comcast Cellular retail store or authorized agent, the company said. … Read more

 

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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