AT&T First to Launch Wireless Digital PCS Nationwide
Service Available Now for 70 Million People in 40 Cities
NEW YORK - October 2, 1996 - AT&T today became the first company to offer immediate availability of the next generation of digital wireless communications service throughout its national wireless network, the country's largest.
The company's newest service - AT&T Digital PCS - makes convenient and secure mobile communications a reality in 40 major metropolitan markets, and combines voice, messaging and paging communications in a single phone. This provides customers the opportunity to consolidate three separate devices - a pager, phone and personal messaging system - into one, and reduces the number of required batteries and charging systems customers must have.
"Our wireless offerings are at the heart of AT&T's delivery of services that meet customers' needs for anytime, anywhere communications," said AT&T Chairman Robert E. Allen. "With AT&T Digital PCS, we're affirming our leadership position by being the first to bring customers in cities across the country the advantages of the most advanced wireless technology."
Steve Hooper, president and CEO of AT&T Wireless Services, said, "This is the largest simultaneous national rollout of service in the history of the wireless communications industry.
"As of today, we're offering AT&T Digital PCS to 70 million potential customers, with plans to extend it rapidly to more than 212 million potential customers -- more than 80 percent of the U.S. population. Then, even as they travel cross country, customers will have access in AT&T Digital PCS service areas to all the service's features."
AT&T Digital PCS offers customers caller ID, so they can see the number of the person calling, and voice mail, with message waiting indicator, so a quick glance tells them they have messages. And with the new service, customers can receive text and numeric messages on their phones from personal computers and text dispatch services.
Also, the battery performance has been dramatically improved, enabling customers to talk longer, or leave their phones on for extended periods of time, using the "sleep mode" feature. Some models can be in a ready mode for as long as 60 hours before recharging is required - two to three times longer than traditional wireless phones.
Digital technology also offers customers greater privacy, and increased resistance to cellular service fraud via cloning, often without a personal identification number (PIN).
AT&T Digital PCS customers will pay the lowest flat rate in the U.S. -- just $.60 per minute -- for "roaming" calls -- those calls made from outside the customer's "home," or local, calling area. The company is offering a range of service packages, starting at $24.99 per month. And there's no annual service commitment.
"AT&T Digital PCS now offers customers the opportunity to use these new services, at an affordable rate, whether they're in New York City, Pittsburgh, San Antonio or more than 40 other cities across America," Hooper said.
AT&T Digital PCS is available now in major markets, including Seattle; Sacramento, Fresno and Ventura, Calif.; Miami, Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; Boise, Idaho; Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; Pittsburgh; Minneapolis; and a number of markets in the New York metropolitan area and Northern New Jersey.
AT&T Digital PCS is based on the advanced Time Division Multiple Access (North American TDMA) standard. It uses a digital datapath on an IS-136 "digital control channel" to provide the new wireless features. It also allows for the creation of microcell networks for in-building and campus PBX- type applications, such as AT&T's Wireless Office Service. This allows customers to use the features they're used to with their office telephone systems, such as four- or five-digit dialing, whether they're across town or across the country.
Some of the first users of AT&T Digital PCS include students and teachers from ten schools across the U.S., under the AT&T Learning Network®. This $150 million, five-year commitment to help put the nation's 110,000 schools on the Information Superhighway includes two years of free wireless service for 100 selected schools.
AT&T Wireless Services is a premier provider of wireless voice, advanced messaging, aircraft communications and wireless data services in the U.S. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T (NYSE: T), the world's leading provider of communications services and products.