#TBT: Qualcomm’s first PCS phone; Southern Company gets into wireless; the wacky world of the ‘we-way’ … this week in 1994

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#TBT: Qualcomm’s first PCS phone; Southern Company gets into wireless; the wacky world of the ‘we-way’ … this week in 1994

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!

Qualcomm launches its first PCS phone
Gearing up for upcoming personal communications services auctions, Qualcomm Inc. has introduced several products based on its Code Division Multiple Access digital technology, including the company’s first portable phone for the PCS market. Qualcomm’s eight ounce QCP-1900 transmits radio frequency power at extremely low levels, giving the phone five hours of talk time and 72 hours of standby time on a single battery, surpassing power capabilities of many high-end cellular handsets by more than four times, according to Qualcomm. The new portable also provides broad coverage and extended capacity. The phone uses Qualcomm’s 13 kilobit per second voice coding option, designed to provide voice clarity comparable to that of a wired phone, according to the company. Other features in the QCP-1900 are 10-number speed dialing, auto redial and answer, 99 memory storage units with alphanumeric tagging, and 32-digit dialing. A separate memory retains the last 10 calls. User-friendly components include menu-driven interaction, a slide-up ear piece that retracts to prevent accidental dialing, and a large, easy-to-read, back-lit LCD display and 20-button keypad. … Read more

The Southern Company gets into mobile networks
The Southern Co., a registered holding company for five Southeastern utilities, plans to have the first domestic digital specialized mobile radio network operated by an end-user organization on the air early next year. The network under construction includes 270 towers and provides coverage of Southern’s 120,000-square mile service area, encompassing all of Georgia and Alabama and most of Mississippi and Florida. Primarily designed to connect voice dispatch communications across the company’s utilities–especially during storm recovery efforts-0Motorola Inc.’s Integrated Radio System (MIRS) also addresses spectral efficiency issues. Southern intends to use SMR two-way data capabilities to link rural customer sites for energy management purposes-the first utility to do so. Excess digital capacity will be leased to public-safety and other organizations, with which the holding company already has considerable interaction. “Although it’s not the primary purpose (of the technology) to provide an information connection to the home, in places we will use it at least until such time as a fiber optic/coaxial cable system is deployed,” says Walter R. Barron, president of Southern Communications. Like many utilities, Southern has a substantial fiber-optic backbone system originally installed for power plant control. … Read more

In 1994, a consultant imagined what a 2022 Smithsonian exhibit on tech from 1994-2008 would look like. This is his vision: The wacky world of the ‘we-way’
Oct. 8, 2022. Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian exhibit on the Age of Multimedia: 1994-2008 opened for public viewing in the Gore Digital Museum complex located in the old Department of Agriculture Building. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor, a milestone in the dawn of the Information Age. The term “multimedia” implies a hidden comparison to single forms of media. Electronic information was first expressed through visual and/or audio input that was complementary rather than integrated. Information appeared as text, video, or audio. Individuals communicated electronically using one or two of these formats. Multimedia involves weaving all three together. The exhibit is composed of three modules: the technology that spawned multimedia, and the impact this information form had on American business and on the personal lives of Americans. The technology exhibit begins with a virtual walk through one of the first transistors developed by Bell Laboratories, then still a subsidiary of AT&T Corp. … The first Neighbor was introduced by Microsoft Inc. in 1998. It combined the features of a folded hand-sized wireless phone with a flat key board and a voice-responsive computer. The computer, sized 30 centimeters by 15 centimeters by 2 centimeters thick, was extremely powerful for the time, equaling the capability of IBM Corp.’s high-end mainframe computer of a mere decade before. Using the Gates programming language, the Neighbor’s software was designed to provide a seamless interface into the entertainment and information databases just becoming available on the National Information Infrastructure, now known as the we-way. Though not completed until 2013, the we-way eventually provided all Americans wireless access from any location in the country. Neighbors and the we-way rid the American office and home desks of much of the machinery that swallowed needed space. … In comparison to 20 years ago when most Americans spent their evenings watching television or a video, in 2014 most everyone spends an hour talking in virtual chat rooms on subjects of personal interest. Besides being fun and stimulating, men and women find it easier to “cruise” each other over the we-way. The downside to the we-way is the increased physical isolation individuals experience from the person living next door. Virtual communities are much closer now than actual communities. Steps are being taken by neighborhood associations to reverse that trend. … Read more

I’m your density. I mean … your Teledestiny.
Motorola Inc.’s Personal Communications Systems formally introduced its Teledensity product, a wireless system designed for local loop and personal communications services applications, at the recent Personal Communications Industry Association Showcase in Seattle. Earlier in September, Motorola announced its first customer for Teledensity would be Southwestern Bell Corp., which plans a trial personal access communications system (PACS) in St. Louis using Motorola’s product. Motorola is in discussions with several other carriers, including U S West Communications, but nothing specific has been announced, according to Phil Petersen, Motorola’s manager of market research for PCS. Motorola’s Cellular Infrastructure Group introduced a WiLL (Wireless Local Loop) product last year. But that system is based on analog Advanced Mobile Phone System technology, and Motorola has been marketing it primarily to the international market to bring phone service to rural areas. Teledensity, although it could be used for some rural applications where houses are closer together, will be marketed primarily for urban/suburban areas as a replacement for wireline phone service. Teledensity uses digital technology. The product likely will make its first round of trials and sales in the United States, although Motorola does intend to market it internationally as well. … Read more

Super! Conductors!
Illinois Superconductor Corp. said it has introduced an interference filter for cellular base station receivers that uses superconductor technology, enabling the base station to hear weaker signals more clearly. Superconductivity involves cooling certain metals and alloys to a very low temperature so electrical currents can be transmitted without resistance. Illinois Superconductor’s filter rejects undesired radio signals, making the radio receiver’s sensitivity greater and allowing weak signals to be heard with greater clarity, according to the Evanston, Ill.-based company. The technology is a spinoff from Argonne National Laboratory, and the filter is the first product of its kind to use superconductor experience in commercial technology, the company said. Even though Illinois Superconductor’s filter operates on the “high temperature” end of superconductivity, the product must still be cooled at lower than minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The company hopes to adapt the cryogenic refrigerator for commercial filter use, said Ora E. Smith, company president and chief executive officer. “Government regulation in the wireless area has affected us positively because of the way cellular and other wireless spectrum has been allocated. The resulting spectrum congestion and interference has created a need for the high-performance products we’re developing,” Smith said. … Read more

PCS companies wangle ‘pioneer preference’ and payment plan option …
WASHINGTON-The Clinton administration last week sent Congress trade legislation that includes a new plan for three companies awarded pioneer’s preferences to pay for personal communications services licenses. Under a compromise reached by lawmakers, the White House and the three firms, the U.S. treasury would be guaranteed at least $400 million overall from American Personal Communications, Cox Enterprises Inc. and Omnipoint Corp. The three firms, which received pioneer awards last December from the Federal Communications Commission, would have to pay 85 percent of the average auction price paid for broadband PCS licenses in most of the top 20 U.S. markets. Many observers, though, believe the federal government will net at least twice the $400 million minimum eyed by the Office of Management and Budget. Winners could pay in a lump sum or in installment payments, the latter alternative an apparent concession to Omnipoint, a small entrepreneurial firm based in Colorado Springs, Colo. … Read more

…but not without opposition
House and Senate Judiciary committees late last week approved digital wiretap legislation, improving chances for passing a bill before the 103rd Congress adjourns for the year. Meanwhile, House Budget Committee members blasted the Clinton administration’s new formula for determining how much three pioneer preference winners must pay for the broadband personal communications services license each receives from the Federal Communications Commission (See story on Page 11). The panel said FCC members who were involved in past pioneer’s preference rulings may be called to testify at a future hearing. The White House’s pioneer preference plan, which is buried at the bottom of massive legislation implementing the new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, is less harsh than the payment plan approved in August by the FCC. The administration’s proposal would shield pioneer awards from being overturned by the agency or in court. At a hearing last week, lawmakers said pioneer provisions in the GATT bill would shortchange the U.S. treasury millions of dollars. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Qualcomm’s first PCS phone; Southern Company gets into wireless; the wacky world of the ‘we-way’ … this week in 1994 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.

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! Qualcomm launches its first PCS phone Gearing up for upcoming personal communications services […]

The post #TBT: Qualcomm’s first PCS phone; Southern Company gets into wireless; the wacky world of the ‘we-way’ … this week in 1994 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.

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