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!

Sprint PCS launches in San Francisco – get 1,000 long distance minutes!

Sprint Spectrum L.P. said it will offer personal communications services to customers in San Francisco tomorrow offering packages that include 1,000 minutes of long-distance calling from any Sprint PCS service area. The San Francisco Bay area, including San Jose and Oakland, adds to the growing list of metropolitan markets where Sprint PCS service is available. Sprint PCS now serves more than 65 markets … Read more

“No grim reaper for the beeper” (well, that was dead wrong)
NEW YORK-Borrowing a tag line from a recently released report of the Paging Leadership Association, industry representatives and analysts say there is “no grim reaper for the beeper.” The association, comprised of the 13 companies that represent 73 percent of the United States paging market, reported 1996 results based on feedback its members provided to KPMG Peat Marwick L.L.P. More than 7.1 million new paging subscribers were added in this country last year, the largest increase ever reported, and average monthly churn rates dropped to 2.69 percent, the lowest in the seven years this annual survey has been conducted. [Worldwide], “paging has grown at a 33 percent compound rate over the last five years, and there will be 400 million subscribers by 2000. Penetration is low,” Chris Galvin, chairman of Motorola Inc., said. “It has the ability to deliver the lowest cost message available to the industry. We think there is a lot of growth left in paging despite the addition of messaging to voice.” C. Edward Baker, chief executive officer of Arch Communications Group Inc., said, “the sheer laws of physics will prevent any competitor that optimizes its system for voice from providing reliable paging. As they seek frequency reuse, they turn down the power, and they don’t get in-building penetration. “So that I don’t appear absolutely naive, you can page over those channels, and there will be a small, de minimus piece of the market that migrates to PCS” … Read more

Lucent boosts GSM staffing
SWINDON, United Kingdom-Lucent Technologies Inc. said it is launching a global recruitment drive to increase the number of staff dedicated to its Global System for Mobile communications business by about 600 during the next fiscal year. The increase follows the company’s growing success in the GSM market, said Lucent, which plans to expand its research and production facilities in the United Kingdom and Germany. Increased demand for Lucent’s GSM solutions means roughly 250 research, development, production and sales staff are needed for the global GSM headquarters in Swindon, United Kingdom, along with another 150 in Nuremberg, Germany. Both of these European sites are seen by Lucent as key locations for the development of next-generation mobile systems and customer support for its global GSM business.

Battle over MCI
WorldCom Inc. last week made an unsolicited offer to merge with MCI Communications Corp. in a deal that would eclipse British Telecommunications plc’s planned acquisition of MCI, which has been in the works for nearly a year. If approved, the deal would put the WorldCom-MCI alliance in second-place in the long-distance arena behind AT&T Corp. and register as the largest ever U.S. merger. MCI released a statement last week confirming that it had received the offer and that “its board of directors would meet in due course to review all issues and options.” BT also released a statement saying, “We have received the material … and are considering the issues it raises.” The exchange offer calls for WorldCom to acquire all the outstanding shares of MCI for $41.50 of WorldCom common stock per MCI share. The offer represents a 41 percent premium to MCI’s closing stock price on Sept. 30 and is valued at $30 billion, said WorldCom … Read more

A college network to try out “cellemetry” and more
NEW YORK-Pennsylvania State University, Vanguard Cellular Systems Inc. and Northern Telecom have launched a campus-wide network that is the basis for a joint effort of at least four years to study digital wireless information technology. “No one has ever assembled such a diverse team to study the emergence, acceptance and development of wireless information technology,” said Haynes G. Griffin, chairman of Vanguard. “We wanted to create a private wireless network that would be flexible enough to meet the everyday demands of a very large and diverse campus community, yet develop a digital environment that would be of interest to both campus and industry researchers. I believe we have accomplished that goal and look forward to future developments.” The initial study area, serving Penn State’s main campus in University Park, Penn., covers an area of more than four square miles, and the private network will have the capacity to handle 16,000 calls per hour, said Todd E. Snyder, public relations manager for CellularOne, Harrisburg, Penn. Vanguard, headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., is the parent of CellularOne in central Pennsylvania. … Initial services will include voice communications, short text messaging capabilities using cellular phones, wireless electronic mail and Internet access using Cellular Digital Packet Data, and “Cellemetry,” a trademark name for the use of wireless data communications to check on heating, lighting, alarms and other campus-wide systems. Preferential zone billing and rate plan trials also will occur … Read more

Japan’s cellular market booms
LONDON-The cellular market in Japan is booming in both the consumer and business sectors, according to a report titled, “Mobile Communications in Asia and the Pacific 1997,” by London-based CIT Research. The country’s consumer sector jumped from 3.7 million at the beginning of last year to more than 13 million and new consumer connections accounted for about half of all new cellular subscriptions. “Historically, cellular services in Japan have been pricey, with the market dominated by business users,” said Phil Kendall, CIT project analyst. “Now, competition in the digital cellular market is forcing tariffs down and consumers are signing up for cellular en masse.” The report identified more than 90 percent of last year’s new subscribers chose low-cost, low-call/personal tariff plans, a pattern continuing into this year. CIT said it expects to see Japan’s boom continue throughout the rest of the Asia-Pacific region during the next 10 years, of which two-thirds will continue to come from the low-call consumer sector … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Sprint PCS launches in San Francisco; “No grim reaper for the beeper ” … this week in 1997 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.