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!

A future for paging in a unified Euro market?
The European paging industry is in the midst of another makeover as it struggles to compete with mobile telephony as a mass-market communications medium. Devices that can send and receive e-mail, link to security systems and encrypt messages are being developed, while network operators increasingly are offering both prepaid and subscription tariff packages. However, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that no matter what the industry does, it is only a matter of time before it wilts in the face of competition from cellular services. Growth in mobile-phone use shows no sign of slowing. Cellular penetration rates across Western Europe on average are more than 25 percent, and some markets predict 40 percent to 50 percent within 12 months. In this climate, it is hard to get excited about paging, which has the image of being the poor man’s mobile phone. However, manufacturers and operators never were likely to simply disregard the massive investment they have made in paging technology and infrastructure, and the gloomy view of a cellular-dominated world is not entirely shared by those keen to promote paging-or “wireless messaging” as it is now often described-as a technology with a future. … Read more

Throw down: GPRS vs. HSCSD
The two major developers of high-speed cellular data technology, Nokia and Ericsson, have opened a public argument over which has achieved the most success in terms of contract awards. The number of cellular operators that have placed orders for high-speed data infrastructure now amounts to more than 100, a surprisingly high number considering that the short- to medium-term availability of terminals remains highly questionable. This air of disagreement between Nokia and Ericsson, while being commercially driven, has now filtered down to the operators. Some of the more aggressive operators in Europe have fired the first salvos in a war of words over which high-speed data technology option will be the first to provide a commercial platform and which provides the better solution. Behind this unseemly behavior is the next big business opportunity for equipment developers and cellular operators alike: enabling and providing nonvoice services to cell phone users. To support these data services, operators are faced with adopting either High-Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) or General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology. However, while offering similar data speeds, these platforms vary considerably in their abilities to support certain applications and their impact on an operator’s existing infrastructure. … Read more

Sprint jettisons a GSM network
After months of speculation over what would happen to Sprint PCS’ GSM network in Washington, D.C., Omnipoint Corp. and VoiceStream Wireless Corp. have agreed to purchase the network for an undisclosed amount, saving their Global System for Mobile communications customers from a potential black hole in that market. According to sources close to the purchase, the carriers had been negotiating the transaction for months. Sprint PCS, after converting GSM customers to the Code Division Multiple Access network it launched last year there, had planned to shut the network off by the end of November, and Omnipoint and VoiceStream were trying to work out a deal to keep the network up and running prior to buying the equipment. Omnipoint and VoiceStream expect to complete their merger plans early this year. Though the value of the deal was not disclosed, Sprint PCS said it received a hefty enough price for the equipment to offset its investment in the GSM network. “It made more sense to get economic value out of the investment we had made,” said Tom Murphy, director of media relations with Sprint PCS. “We already moved customers over, and our competitors would have entered the market anyway.” … Read more

AT&T gears up for EDGE
VANCOUVER, British Columbia-Sierra Wireless Inc. announced it has signed a multi-year $30 million contract with AT&T Wireless Services Inc. to supply Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution high speed data products. The agreement will supply AT&T with wireless modems over a 12-month period beginning in the second half of 2001. “Sierra Wireless has worked together with AT&T Wireless Services over the last six years to develop the U.S. wireless data market,” said Andrew Harries, vice president of marketing at Sierra Wireless. “EDGE promises data rates that will open up completely new application segments for wireless data and we look forward to working with AT&T Wireless Services to deliver compelling EDGE solutions.” AT&T Wireless plans to use EDGE products throughout the United States, allowing data services at speeds up to 384 kilobits per second. … Read more

Extra, extra! Read all the news via WAP
HELSINKI, Finland-Nokia Corp. and Agence France-Presse have signed a global cooperation agreement to develop news services based on the Wireless Application Protocol. AFP, one of the world’s three leading news and photo agencies, will use WAP-based mobile services to provide the latest general, sports and financial news in English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. “The launch of our WAP services builds on AFP’s strong presence on the Internet, moving us now into the new era of mobile access to the Internet,” said Monique Willa, AFP’s director for strategy, business development and partnerships. “Through this partnership with Nokia, we will be able to deliver a wide range of news and information to people who need to be on the move.” AFP, with 1,200 reporters, 200 photographers and 2,000 stringers working in 165 countries, provides multimedia news services to more than 150 Web sites in 20 countries. … Read more

Look, Ma, no hands
Lucent Technologies Inc.’s Microelectronics Group plans to introduce a digital signal processor-based chipset optimized for the hands-free cellular environment in automobiles this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The chipset allows hands-free cellular users to be heard more clearly without the need to speak loudly by eliminating echoes and suppressing background noise, said the company. The single-chip DSP simultaneously can enable voice recognition; hands-free, full-duplex speaker phone functions, including adaptive acoustic echo cancellation, line echo cancellation and noise suppression; simultaneous voice and data; and voice memo recording functions.The chipset is targeted for use in a variety of hands-free markets, including automotive telematics, embedded cell phone hands-free kits and portable hands-free kits. … Read more

One giant leap for Leap
SAN DIEGO-Leap Wireless International Inc. announced its international and domestic subscribers have jumped to more than 210,000 since Aug. 31, a 250-percent increase for the company. The subscriber figure includes Leap’s wholly owned company, Smartcom PCS, as well as its 28.6-percent ownership in Pegaso and 7.2-percent stake in Chase Telecommunications Holdings Inc. “We saw subscriber growth of nearly 74 percent during the first fiscal quarter even though our Chilean operation did not re-launch as Smartcom PCS until late in November and Pegaso’s launch of Mexico City did not occur until December,” said Harvey P. White, chairman and chief executive office of Leap. … Read more

FCC set for broadcast spectrum auction
WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission will auction 30 megahertz of spectrum being made available with the transition to digital TV for advanced fixed and mobile wireless services, but is looking for more advice on what to do with the six megahertz of spectrum set aside to protect public safety. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association said it found the decision troubling. The government is transitioning channels 60-69 (746-806 MHz) from TV use to other areas. Twenty-four megahertz was allocated for public-safety uses and 36 megahertz was set aside for commercial purposes. The 100 broadcasters still in this band will be protected from interference until the transition to digital TV is complete. The auction is set to begin April 25. Since the 60-69 spectrum is considered prime real estate by the wireless industry, every sector has tried to convince the FCC to give it a piece of the pie. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: GPRS vs. HSCSD throw down; paging’s future in a unified European market; AT&T gears up for EDGE … this week in 2000 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.