Southwestern Bell and AT&T to test TDMA wireless system
SAN DIEGO -- March 1, 1994 -- AT&T Network Wireless Systems and Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems will conduct a trial of personal communica- tions services (PCS) using Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) wireless technology, the companies announced today at the annual Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association (CTIA) con- ference.
The two-phase trial, pending experimental license approval by the FCC, will be conducted in Dallas over the next six to nine months. The first phase involves a technical assessment of how a 2 GHz PCS system can be integrated into the existing Dallas cellular network by upbanding the existing cellular frequencies. Testing will involve frequencies in the 1.85 to 2.2 GHz range, consistent with the FCC designations for PCS.
Nokia and Motorola have agreed to provide wireless handsets for use during the first phase. Based on what is learned, a second phase may be conducted which will include testing the ser- vice with customers from Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems.
According to SBMS and AT&T, the trial is being conducted to provide technical and marketing information prior to the FCC PCS spectrum auctions. The end result of the trial will be data on how to deploy 2 GHz on an existing cellular network, how much of the existing cellular infrastructure can be shared with the 2 GHz PCS network, how the 2 GHz network impacts the existing cellular network and how much spectrum is available for deploying a 2 GHz PCS high-speed mobility network.
"The major equipment components for the trial will build upon our AUTOPLEX(R) System 1000 digital technology, which has been deployed in Mobile Systems' Dallas-Fort Worth market," com- ments Jim Brewington, president, AT&T Network Wireless Systems. "The advantage of this approach is that the technology is here today and that it interoperates with North America's telecom- munications network on day one."
Initial technical evaluations are underway to lay the foun- dation for the technical assessment. The 10 MHz spectrum bands in Dallas have been analyzed using the IMASS system developed for Southwestern Bell Corporation's recent Houston PCN trial.
"This trial is designed to provide us with valuable informa- tion from a technical perspective and from the customer's per- spective," said John Stupka, president and CEO of Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems. "We recognize the value of conducting ex- tensive trials and evaluations in the marketplace. It's enabled us to give our customers the first personal communications ser- vice and the most aggressive digital roll out in North America."
Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems has been the leader in the deployment of digital cellular service in North America. By the end of 1994, about 22 million potential customers will have the choice of digital service in areas served by the company. In 1993, the company launched FreedomLink(TM), the first personal communications service to be commercially provided in North America.
Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems is a subsidiary of South- western Bell Corporation, an international communications company headquartered in San Antonio. Mobile Systems provides wireless communications to more than 2 million customers in 54 service areas throughout the United States. During 1993, the company added 636,000 customers for a growth rate of 45 percent. As the second-largest company in North America as measured by customers, Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems' penetration rate of 5.7 percent is the highest of any major cellular company in North America and twice the industry average.
AT&T Network Wireless Systems is a unit of AT&T Network Systems Group, which is a worldwide manufacturer and marketer of network telecommunications products. The company offers com- munications service providers virtually everything they need to build and operate their wireless and landline networks.