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!

Industry sees ‘astounding’ growth
WASHINGTON-The number of people who use cellular telephones in the United States is nearing the 20 million mark, with more than 17,000 new cellular customers added daily. In its semi-annual survey of industry growth, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association said the number of subscribers in the first six months of 1994 grew by 3.3 million, its largest half-year increase ever. For the 12-month period from July 1993 to June 1994, the industry reported six million more subscribers, a 48 percent increase from the previous year. “Growth in the wireless telecommunications industry has been astounding,” said CTIA President Thomas Wheeler, noting that two out of every three new phone numbers go to wireless customers. “Wireless telecommunications enable people to communicate where and when they want. Increasingly, they also play an important role as a weapon against crime, saving lives and promoting public safety,” Wheeler continued. “Last year, more than a half million cellular phone calls per month were made to 911 and other emergency telephone numbers.” While it took nine years for the cellular industry to reach the 10 million-customer mark in 1992, in less than two years the industry has added almost another 10 million customers, CTIA said. … Read more

It’s no 90210, but … LA gets a new area code
LOS ANGELES-Unpredicted demand for wireless telephone numbers in the Los Angeles area has forced Pacific Bell to introduce an overlay area code. In September 1995, new cellular and paging customers in the 310 area code will be given area code 562. Pacific Bell said it hopes that existing wireless customers won’t have to change from 310 to 562. “If the wireless companies were to immediately begin redirecting half their new growth to other area codes, this could be the first area code to go into service without requiring existing customers to change numbers,” said Linda Bonniksen, a Pacific Bell spokeswoman. The move will increase the incidence of 10-digit dialing for all customers, but that already is common in Southern California and expected to become even more prevalent, Bonniksen noted. Area codes contain about 8 million numbers. Area code 310 has only about 2 million numbers available. … Read more

Telecom legislation on tap
WASHINGTON-Congress will attempt to pass telecommunications reform and digital wiretap legislation this fall, and lawmakers also plan to put the Federal Communications Commission’s auction program under the microscope before adjourning the 103rd session next month. With any luck, telecommunications reform legislation could hit the Senate floor this week. In fact, telecommunications legislation may grab center stage now that Congress and the Clinton administration have abandoned hope of passing a major health care reform bill this year. But it will take more than luck to get a sweeping overhaul of the 1934 Communications Act out of the Democratic-controlled Congress, given the complexity, controversy and limited number of days left on the legislative calendar. Moreover, the Democratic leadership still wants to salvage a modest health care measure before lawmakers depart to campaign for midterm elections that historically have gone particularly bad for the party of unpopular presidents, like Bill Clinton. … Read more

Inmarsat seeks to scale satellite use
The International Maritime Satellite Organization has announced more detailed investment plans for “corporatizing” its Inmarsat-P handheld mobile satellite service, stating it hopes to raise an initial $1 billion from its signatories to launch an affiliate company. While significant by itself, this effort also would be a trial run for making the entire Inmarsat organization a commercial entity. Following a meeting of its governing council the week of Sept. 5, Inmarsat said it plans to invest up to $150 million in the new company, which would be about 15 percent of the affiliate’s ordinary shares. Its interest in the company also would include additional equity, equivalent to about 5 percent of the shares, as payback for work it has already done, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Hess. A business plan was scheduled to be issued privately to the signatories Sept. 16, with investment commitments due by mid-December. The company, to be registered in the United Kingdom, would be formed following an investors’ meeting scheduled in January. Once the affiliate company is formed, it would then invite a second round of investments from strategic partners. Inmarsat estimates it will need $2.6 billion to launch the system, which will comprise 12 satellites operating in intermediate circular orbit. … Read more

Car kits of the future!

A Boulder, Colo.-based company has teamed up with several North American cellular operators to develop standards that could lead to the development of so-called intelligent vehicle products. CellPort Labs Inc. plans to create, develop and license technology and products to expand wireless voice and data capabilities within vehicles, as well as in offices and homes. The company is working with GTE Mobilnet, Contel Cellular, Ameritech Cellular Services, AirTouch Cellular and Toronto-based Bell Mobility Cellular to devise common interfaces for applications for the car of the future. While many people use portable cellular phones in their vehicles, the car kits made by manufacturers that allow handsets to be used with the higher-power, car-mounted transceivers, are not compatible, according to CellPort. This can create problems when multiple cellular users share a car, or if a customer upgrades to a newer phone. In that case, the original car kit must be removed and replaced with one compatible with the new phone, or more than one car kit must be installed in the vehicle. CellPort, along with the five cellular operators, is working to develop a standard interface that will let handsets from multiple manufacturers be used with one transceiver. … Read more

Who’s driving the smart car?
The revolution in wireless communications, already well underway, will dramatically reshape the way we work, play, shop and travel. Which technologies survive and flourish depends not only upon their consumer acceptance in the marketplace, but also, on a more basic level, their ability to be granted access by the federal government to the radio frequencies they need to operate efficiently. As more and more technologies are developed, the internecine fighting among these new technologies for access to the nation’s limited radio spectrum will surely become more and more fierce. One major new field of technology-intelligent vehicle-highway systems-is already involved in such a skirmish at the Federal Communications Commission, and the outcome may portend how successful this potentially billion dollar industry will become. IVHS is envisioned as linking various existing and emerging technologies to create an integrated system of computers, wireless radio communications systems and various sophisticated sensors to be used in cars and highways that has the potential to greatly alter the way millions of Americans drive and interact with the roadway in the not-too-distant future. The Intelligent Vehicle-Highway System Act, or IVHSA, passed by Congress in November 1991, directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to research, develop, and test such “smart car” technology, and to promote implementation of such systems. … Read more

PCIA backs a cost-sharing plan for microwave relocation
WASHINGTON-The Personal Communications Industry Association said it has urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a microwave relocation cost-sharing plan to ease the deployment of personal communications services networks. PCIA’s proposal calls for all PCS licensees that benefit from a specific microwave system’s relocation to distribute equally the cost of relocating that system. Microwave systems often cross frequency or major trading area and basic trading area boundaries and therefore interfere with more than one PCS system. “Therefore, more than one company benefits from the relocation of a microwave system,” PCIA said. “Under PCIA’s cost-sharing plan, relocation costs would be shared equally by each PCS licensee whose system would have interfered with the relocated link. … Read more

Mixed results for Paging Network
DALLAS-Paging Network Inc. posted record net revenue for the second quarter of 1994, ended June 30, and increased its number of pagers in service by more than 43 percent compared with last year. PageNet said it experienced net losses of nearly $5.47 million, or 11 cents per share, during the recent second quarter. Losses during the same quarter of 1993 were nearly $5.57 million. Revenue increased nearly 32 percent for PageNet in the second quarter of 1994. During the recent quarter, the company posted revenue of $99.3 million from services, rent, maintenance and profits from product sold. PageNet had $74.5 million in revenue during second quarter 1993. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Growing by 17K subs per day; who’s driving smart car development? … this week in 1994 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.