#TBT: Samsung, CDMA and the US phone market; the phones of CES ’98; WAP Forum founded … this week in 1998

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 those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Samsung seeks a cellular foothold in US market

Samsung is not a household name in the United States, but the consumer electronics giant is hoping its $10 million brand promotion campaign introduced in the fourth quarter and its aggressive strategy to grab a 40-percent share of the U.S. CDMA handset market will do the trick. Samsung Group’s American telecommunications business, Samsung Telecommunications America, is on the fast track in the United States. The company started shipping its first handsets in the United States during mid-1997 under a $6 million contract with Sprint Spectrum L.P. Samsung says it currently has about a 20-percent share of the Code Division Multiple Access handset market, where Qualcomm Inc., Sony Corp., (as well as the Sony/Qualcomm partnership) and Nokia Corp. are its only current competitors. By the end of last year, it introduced three new models of handsets-two personal communications services products and a dual-mode cellular phone. At the Consumer Electronics’ Show earlier this month, Samsung unveiled its CDMA/AMPS smart phone, which works with the Windows CE 2.0 operating system and comes in … Read more

FCC issues in 1998

WASHINGTON-The wireless industry accomplished much last year on the regulatory road to competition, but the task of creating parity with wireline services and eliminating old monopoly-related regulations is far from complete. Cellular carriers, personal communications services licensees, private radio providers, messaging companies and other wireless entities this year will work even harder alone and in tandem with their professional associations to even the playing field as Congress and the Federal Communications Commission enter Year Three of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Carriers and consumers alike appear to think that the promises made in that act are not being carried out in reality, from the lowering of prices to the abandoning of what Alan Shark, president and chief executive officer of the American Mobile Telecommunications Association calls “unreasonable regulatory burdens on small businesses.” He believes that the new panel of commissioners may be ready to address in a positive manner some of the pressing concerns over which the wireless industry has been wringing its hands during the last regime. “On the Eighth Floor (of the FCC), it looks like people are looking at things from anew,” Shark said. “They are much more open, especially on issues like E911. We hope that they feel the same about number portability and wireless resale.” … Read more

The phones of CES ’98: TDMA! Dual-band! Three+ hours of talk time!

LAS VEGAS-Manufacturers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may have been hinting at things to come with a handful of launches and plenty of promises of phones that can do more for longer periods of time. Long-awaited dual-mode, dual-band phones-those that work on both analog and digital networks at either 800 MHz or 1900 MHz-are finally making it to market in quantities. And manufacturers are beginning to add more features to their handsets to make them more attractive to consumers. “Most digital phones in the next few years will be dual-mode, if not dual-band,” said Phillip Redman, senior analyst of wireless/mobile communications research and consulting for The Yankee Group. Nokia Corp. introduced two new Time Division Multiple Access phones that it will begin shipping this quarter. The 6120 is an 800 MHz single-band/dual-mode phone and the 6160 is an 800 MHzMHz dual-band/dual-mode handset. Both phones support three hours and 15 minutes of talk time and eight days of standby time with the standard battery. An optional extended-life battery provides five hours and 10 minutes of talk time and 13 days of standby, said the company. Nokia packed the handset with plenty of features, including memory for 199 names and phone numbers, an alarm clock, a calendar and a calculator as well as games. The phones also can be programmed for different alerts appropriate to different environments, including a silent alert. The company enlisted the expertise of designers from auto manufacturer BMW to make the phone as attractive and easy-to-use as possible, said Matt Wisk, vice president of customer marketing, USA, for Nokia Mobile Phones Inc. New design elements include fewer buttons spaced farther apart, he said. … Read more

Sprint buys remaining shares in APC, PCS originator retires

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Sprint Spectrum L.P. said it completed its purchase of the remaining shares in its partnership with American Personal Communications to make the venture wholly owned by Sprint Spectrum. Also, cellular and personal communications services pioneer Wayne Schelle-APC’s founder and chairman-announced his retirement and his son, Scott, resigned as president. Wayne Schelle’s departure from the telecom industry is a notable event, as he and Sprint launched the first PCS network in the United States. Schelle, named RCR’s 1995 Person of the Year, built one of the first two experimental cellular systems and ran Cellular One, the first commercial non-wireline cellular system in Washington, D.C. He left the cellular industry in the late 1980s, but reappeared seeking a pioneer’s preference 1900 MHz PCS experimental license in 1989, spurred by the British development of personal communications networks. Schelle later was forced to pay $100 million for the license. He is credited with coining the term PCS. … Read more

WAP Forum is founded

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.-After introducing the architecture for the Wireless Application Protocol last September, collaborators L.M. Ericsson, Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp. and Unwired Planet Inc. announced they established a new company called Wireless Application Protocol Forum Ltd. According to the companies, WAP is meant to bring Internet content and advanced services to digital cellular phones and other wireless terminals. The WAP Forum aims to administer the worldwide WAP specification process in hopes of creating a global wireless protocol specification that works across different types of wireless network technologies. The architecture of WAP was posted on the Internet for public review and comments Sept. 15. A complete draft of the detailed specifications will be available for review this month, the forum said. … Read more

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

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