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FRIDAY - JANUARY 10, 2003 - ISSUE NO. 48

Dear Friends and Industry Colleagues,

I guess all the wireless PR and marketing people are getting caught up on their press releases after getting back to work, because there is a lot of interesting news coming out this week. This is the longest newsletter that I have ever written and it has what may be some of the most important news about Wireless Data that we have seen since the concept began.

But first, I would like to welcome all the new subscribers, and to thank everyone who sent copies of the newsletter to friends and co-workers.

And then, some housekeeping: I hope this doesn't cause you much of an inconvenience, but I must change my e-mail address. Please save my new e-mail address in your address book.

Old e-mail address New e-mail address
braddye@swbell.net brad@braddye.com
This is my weekly newsletter about Wireless Data and Radio Paging. You are receiving this message because you have either communicated with me in the past about a wireless topic, or your address was included in another e-mail that I received on the same subject. This is not a SPAM. If you have received this message in error, or you are not interested in these topics, please click here, then click on “send” and you will be promptly removed from the mailing list. My apologies.

I want to thank Brian Ussher and Scott Sparvero of iland Internet Solutions Corporation and REFREQ.COM in Houston for sponsoring The Paging Information Resource web site for the past several years. All I ever gave them was a big prime-T-bone steak cooked at my home in Plano, Texas a few years ago. These are really great guys, and anyone needing an ISP to host their web site couldn't find a better one than theirs. I think radio communications and paging must be in the Ussher family blood. One brother, Enrique (Henry) Ussher has worked for Motorola in Brazil and Argentina for many years, the other brother, Brian is one of the founders of REFREQ.COM, and their sister, Sylvia Ussher worked with me at Motorola Paging in Florida for several years as a marketing manager. Great folks all!

WIRELESS NEWS

MICROSOFT GETS INTO PAGING

A Microsoft Watch Will Provide Much More Than Time

By SAUL HANSELL

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8—Microsoft, continuing its effort to extend its reach beyond computers, today introduced designs for a new class of watch that gives more than the time and a pocket audio and video player.

The designs, which will be available from several manufacturers by the end of the year, were presented by Microsoft's chairman, Bill Gates, in a speech today that opened the annual International Consumer Electronics Show here.

The watch will initially be made by Fossil, Citizen and Suunto. The simplest versions will cost less than $150, but the watchmakers will also make much more expensive designs. The watch will require a subscription to a data service, which Microsoft executives said might have a fee of $5 to $12 a month or might be included in the price of some watches.

All of the watches will have a small, rectangular liquid crystal display and the ability to receive short data messages, much like a pager. This technology will allow the watch to identify where it is and what the local time is—and the local weather forecast—as the wearer travels.

The watch will also be able to receive the wearer's personal calendar sent from a personal computer and instant messages sent through Microsoft's messaging service.

Microsoft has built a new national wireless data network, based on the data broadcasting ability of FM radio stations. The company says that compared with traditional paging systems, this network makes it cheaper both to broadcast data and build receivers. It said the microchips for the watch, which it designed, cost less than $10 each wholesale.

Microsoft's watch design is the first instance of what it calls smart personal object technology, or SPOT, which powers devices with access to information. William H. Mitchell, the general manager of the smart personal objects unit, said such a device could be sold for less than $20.

Source: The New York Times (free registration required)

What does this mean? Well, here is what I think: (You knew I was going to say that right?) It's the good news and the bad news. The good news is that Microsoft is validating the vast potential of wireless messaging. This is wonderful! The bad news is that they have chosen FM broadcast-sub-carrier channels as the means to deliver their information content. This is terrible! I will leave an analysis of the technical issues for a later newsletter, because this one is already too long, but let me go on record as saying that it was a very unfortunate decision to choose sub-carrier paging over FLEX or ReFLEX. What an embarrassment to the paging industry! Unless they have somehow greatly improved sub-carrier paging technology, they are in for big trouble.


THERE IS STILL TIME TO JOIN THE AAPC AND ATTEND THE PTC MEETING IN TAMPA
The Paging Technical Committee (PTC) of the American Association of Paging Carriers (AAPC) is seeking input from paging operators regarding technical issues of general concern to the paging industry. If you have a technical topic you believe has general interest to the paging community please contact Stephen Oshinsky at: E-MAIL ADDRESS REMOVED to have it included in the upcoming PTC meeting. The next meeting will be held in Tampa, Florida at the Crowne Plaza hotel on January 22. These meetings are generally attended by lead technical personnel of paging operators in the US.

We would like to invite you to attend and participate. Members of AAPC are automatically included as voting members of PTC. For AAPC information see: www.pagingcarriers.org.

I have already ordered my plane ticket and hotel room. I am really looking forward to meeting some of you there. By the way, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team is playing the Montreal Canadiens at home in Tampa on January 22nd. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602. You can still get tickets for the game on the Internet by clicking here. left arrow

I am planning to be at the game as well. It should be great fun—seeing "ice boxing" live!

I am sorry, I won't run this reminder again after this week. I just feel that this meeting is very important, and that we should support the PTC in their efforts to reach agreements on technical issues that affect the paging industry. I did get a message last week from a colleague in Brazil who may attend, after reading about the meeting in this newsletter.


WebLink Wireless Is Acquired by Leucadia National Corporation

DALLAS—January 6, 2003—WebLink Wireless, Inc., a leader in the messaging and paging industry, today announced that Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE & PCX: LUK) has entered into an agreement with WebLink Wireless' secured creditors to acquire over 80% of the outstanding common stock and over 94% of the outstanding secured notes of WebLink Wireless. Leucadia has completed the purchase of the secured notes, but the purchase of the common stock is subject to receipt of approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the change in control of FCC licenses held by WebLink Wireless.

"1way and 2way paging meet an essential communications need in corporate America where reliability, affordability, and simplicity are valued," said N. Ross Buckenham, chairman and CEO of WebLink Wireless. "We expect to work closely with Leucadia to create long term value for our shareholders, customers and employees alike."

Leucadia National Corporation is a holding company for its consolidated subsidiaries engaged in a variety of businesses, including banking and lending (principally through American Investment Bank, N.A.), manufacturing (through its Plastics Division), winery operations, real estate activities, development of a copper mine (through its 72.8% interest in MK Gold Company) and property and casualty insurance and reinsurance. The Company also currently has equity interests of more than 5% in the following domestic public companies: AmeriKing, Inc. (6.8%), Carmike Cinemas, Inc. (11.1%), GFSI Holdings, Inc. (6.9%), HomeFed Corporation (30.3%), Jackson Products, Inc. (8.8%), Jordan Industries, Inc. (10.1%) and WilTel Communications Group, Inc. (47.4%).

WebLink Wireless, a privately held company, owns and operates a state of the art nationwide ReFLEX network that supports over a million customers. The network has the largest high -powered terrestrial footprint in the United States, with roaming partners in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The Dallas based company provides wireless 2way and 1way paging and wireless email, GPS locationing and machine communications services and devices. WebLink Wireless is a 1way and 2way wireless data network provider for many of the largest telecommunication companies in the U. S. that source virtual network services and resell under their own brand names. More information is available at www.weblinkwireless.com

Source: WebLink Wireless


Korean company to make Palm-based messaging device

Jan. 06, 2003 12:36 PM EST
SUNNYVALE, Calif.—Korean wireless device maker HuneTec said it licensed Palm Inc.’s operating system and will build a Palm OS device running on WebLink Wireless’ ReFLEX paging and messaging network.

The announcement is notable because few manufacturers have shown interest in paging and messaging networks since mainstay Motorola Inc. announced in late 2001 it would exit the business.

Separately, the Internal Revenue Service said the shares of Palm’s OS business will be tax free. Palm said it will spin off its operating system business in the first half of this year.

Source: RCR Wireless News


NEW MOTOROLA WIRELESS PHONE CAN DOWNLOAD MUSIC
Motorola and FID Collaborate to Bring Exciting Multimedia Features to New Cell Phones Via J2ME™ Technology

CHICAGO—6 January 2003—First International Digital, Inc. (FID), a leading digital multimedia software developer and Motorola, Inc., a global communications giant, today announced the availability of multimedia capabilities and content for its latest line of cell phones. The offerings demonstrate the power of Motorola's implementation of J2ME™ technology across its handsets, in cooperation with innovative third party solutions such as FID's patent-pending maxMIDI™ technology.

Source: Motorola web site

More about new Motorola wireless phones from RCR Wireless News here.

The following old news release shows the relationship between these two companies.


Multimedia Software Firm Grows From its Roots in Motorola Technology
(Schaumburg, Ill., October 25, 2000)—Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and First International Digital, Inc. (FID) announced today that Motorola has made an equity investment in FID a privately-held multimedia company that develops and markets audio and video products. FID, previously known as Motorola Software Enterprises launched in November 1998 with nearly 100 patents in multimedia software technology.

Source: iRock web site


Hitachi Unveils its First Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition Handheld Slated to run on the Enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS Network

Jan 6, 2003 09:15 AM

Windows Powered and Wireless, Hitachi’s Multimedia Communicator Sports an Integrated Camera, Keyboard, and Phone Feature.

Redmond, Wash. and Brisbane, Calif.—January 6, 2003, Microsoft Corp. and Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), a leading global electronics company, today unveiled the Hitachi Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC, the company’s first Windows Powered device and the first Pocket PC to feature an integrated camera, keyboard, and phone feature all in one mobile device. The Multimedia Communicator combines the comprehensive functionalities of a Pocket PC experience, with the high-speed enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS Network to deliver the ability to take pictures, provide comfortable text input for emails with a built-in keyboard, place and receive phone calls, and browse the web. Based on the new Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition software for CDMA networks, the Multimedia Communicator is expected to be available in the first half of 2003 only from Sprint (NYSE: FON, PCS).

Source: Hitachi web site


Consumer Reports survey details dissatisfaction with wireless

Jan. 07, 2003 1:09 PM EST
YONKERS, N.Y.—In an exhaustive report on the wireless industry, Consumer Reports found that one-third of wireless subscribers it polled said they were seriously considering changing wireless carriers. The survey noted 10 percent of subscribers complained they could not get service, 14 percent said they experienced dropped calls and 11 percent said their calls were marred by severe static or had difficulty hearing the other party clearly.

Source: RCR Wireless News


Baby Bells Benefit From FCC Speculation

SBC, Verizon and BellSouth each gained more than $2 a share in midday trading [Tuesday 1/7/03] on the New York Stock Exchange.

Qwest Communications International Inc. was the largest percentage gainer of the Baby Bells, up 10.2 percent, or 55 cents, to close at $5.93, also on the Big Board.

The Wall Street Journal reported the FCC is preparing to stop making the Bells and other local phone companies rent their networks to competitors at cheap rates. The move, which would basically undo a seven-year-old FCC rule intended to encourage competition, could be voted on by FCC commissioners early next month, the Journal reported. It would then have to overcome likely legal challenges and would take about two years to phase in, according to the report.

Source: Associated Press as reported on Yahoo! FINANCE

Will this hurt paging? What is your opinion?


COMMENTS FROM READERS ABOUT THE STATE OF THE PAGING INDUSTRY
Sometimes when I get on the soapbox concerning issues that I feel strongly about, I later say to myself, "now you've done it, there you go opening your mouth when you should keep quiet!" But then that is who I am and that is what I am all about. I always try to tell it like I see it.

So. . . I was pleasantly surprised when my comments in last week's newsletter provoked several supporting responses. I haven't received so many messages since I commented on the lack of moral fiber in business after the World Comm scandal became public. (Except for holiday greetings, of course.) Let me say that some of the carriers are customer sensitive and very willing to find new ways to produce revenue but unfortunately, they seem to be in the minority. I am going to protect the anonymity of those who called, and sent in comments, but I definitely want to share some of this with you.

  • "IF this is the situation, the only thing that will save the industry is a great technological idea that manages to get financial backing behind them so they can move forward despite the carriers. . . Without something with a large market coming, they are doomed."
  • "[Your] dissertation regarding business cracked me up. . . I have always explained it as "people smarter than you" (and me) making the decisions, that's sarcasm of course. I have always assumed that on the way to receiving an MBA, that the portion of the brain responsible for common sense, logic, and most notably mathematics. . . was somehow overwritten, probably at the BS stage of the degree process. None that have it will admit it, but i think that MBA = Minimal Brain Activity."
  • "Go ahead and tell it like it is Brad!"
  • "I FULLY agree with your reasoning and I'm glad to see that, at least, I'm not alone. . ."

If you think these people probably are flunkies and their opinions don't matter, well. . . they are a couple of senior VPs, a CEO, and a top-level engineer.


BUY AND SELL
WANT TO BUY WANT TO SELL
URGENT HELP NEEDED
I still need to license a good FLEX decoding program written in “C” or get some consulting help from someone who can show another accomplished programmer some tricks and shortcuts to help get it done more quickly. If you know someone who can do this, please contact Brad Dye for a referral.
VYTEK WIRELESS
I am now a manufacturer representative (MR) for Vytek Wireless Products. (Formerly Sonik.) Please look at what they have to offer to the Paging and Wireless Messaging industry.

I would be happy to give you a price quotation on any of their products.

 

PAGER DEALS

New Pagers: Percomm-branded Odyssey 900 MHz FLEX synthesized numeric display pagers

  • Quantity: 9400 units
  • Color: Mixed of 7 colors
  • Price: $28.00/unit

Used Motorola Pagers:

1. Ultra 900 MHz FLEX

  • Quantity: 7000 units
  • Price: $3.50/unit
  • Condition: Very Good

2. Ultra 900 MHz POCSAG

  • Quantity: 7000 units
  • Price: $3.50/unit
  • Condition: Very Good

3. Gold 900 MHz FLEX

  • Quantity: 2000 units
  • Price: $9.00/unit
  • Condition: Very Good

4. Bravo 150 MHz and 450 MHz mixed

  • Quantity: 4000 units
  • Price: $3.00/unit
  • Condition: Good

5. Wordline 900 MHz FLEX

  • Quantity: 1500 units
  • Price: $9.00/unit
  • Condition: Very Good

6. Pagewriter ReFLEX25 in original box with all accessories.

  • Quantity: 100 units
  • Price: $120.00/unit
  • Condition: Excellent

7. Pagewriter ReFLEX25 out of box without accessories.

  • Quantity: 200 units
  • Price: $90.00/unit
  • Condition: Very Good

The new pagers will come from South Korea with warranty, the used pagers will be sold "as is" from stock in New York. Let me know if you are interested, and I will put in touch with this friend.

Legacy Technology Solutions LLC—paging infrastructure repair with warranty. Please ask for Virgil Jarrard, President, and tell him Brad sent you. Toll-free voice: 1-877-436-8044 or voice: 972-436-8044, fax: 972-436-8944. They are located in the Dallas suburbs, and they sometimes have good deals on reconditioned paging equipment as well. Check with them for current product availability. You can send Virgil an e-mail by clicking on the Legacy name above.

If you have any wireless equipment that you would like to buy or sell, please let me know. Everything that is offered for sale in this newsletter is on the honor system. There is no charge for the listing, but if a sale is made, I ask the seller to send me a 10% commission, much the same as the voluntary payments that are requested on the Internet for shareware.

UNTIL NEXT WEEK

PAGING
INFORMATION
RESOURCE

Best regards,

BFD signature
Brad Dye
Wireless Data Consultant

Voice:
Fax:
New e-mail: brad@braddye.com
Consulting and Job search site left arrow click here

FLEX, ReFLEX, InFLEXion, and PageWriter are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola, Inc.
CreataLink is a trademark of SmartSynch Communications Corp.

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