Glenayre, Benbow Agree to Test Two-Way Wireless Messaging; Westlink Paging Will Conduct Test In California.
Westlink Paging, one of the largest privately held paging companies in the United States, is the network operator for two regional narrowband personal communications services (NPCS) licenses Benbow PCS Ventures won in the Federal Communication Commission's narrowband auction last year. It will conduct the test early next year in San Diego, home to Westlink's corporate headquarters. Benbow is a joint venture of Westlink and the Walsh Companies.
"Since securing our NPCS licenses, we have been eagerly awaiting this day," said June Walsh, Benbow's president and chief executive officer. "We are excited about the technology and confident that this test is going to teach us a lot about bringing exciting new high-value, low-cost wireless services to the marketplace."
The test will include guaranteed page delivery and two-way services.
"Testing for guaranteed page delivery may sound redundant in an industry well-known for its network reliability, but anytime you introduce new systems, you owe it to your customers to again demonstrate that reliability," said Gary Smith, president of Glenayre's Wireless Messaging Group. "Whether the page is sent to someone just down the street or someone aboard an airliner at 32,000 feet, we want to demonstrate that transmission is fail-safe."
Westlink also plans to test two-way paging which allows customers to receive alphanumeric messages and respond with pre-recorded messages.
"Today most paging systems transmit data at 1,200 bits per second (bps) and limit alphanumeric messages to 40 or 80 characters; the FLEX(TM) protocol allows for the transmission of data at 6,400 bps, the speed needed to meet customer demand for longer messages," said Rex Snyder, Westlink's vice president of technology. "And ReFLEX25 goes a step further, providing additional capacity and response capability.
"The protocols enable enhanced messaging services while maximizing efficiencies in both our infrastructure and frequency spectrum," Snyder said.
Glenayre is providing response-channel receivers and RF Directors (switches) to add two-way capability to Westlink's new C2000 transmitter control infrastructure.
"We believe a graceful migration from one-way FLEX paging to two-way ReFLEX25 paging is important," Smith said.
Scott Hoyt, Westlink's vice president of marketing, said the company's test of two-way paging services will lay the groundwork for the introduction of other NPCS services.
"Westlink will provide the full range of narrowband PCS to its customers," Hoyt said. "This test is important in helping us to understand the market applications that will have broad appeal, helping us refine our service offerings while allowing for the development of offerings not yet envisioned."
Glenayre Technologies is a worldwide provider of telecommunications equipment and related software used in the wireless PCS markets, including radio paging, voice processing and alphanumeric and mobile data systems. A public company whose stock is traded on the NASDAQ system, Glenayre's sales have increased from $92.5 million in 1991 to $222.9 million in the first three quarters of 1995.
Westlink Paging serves more than 450,000 customers in 88 markets in 14 western and midwestern states. In part, Benbow partnered with Westlink Paging in narrowband PCS because of the paging company's sophisticated digital paging network.
Benbow PCS Ventures is a joint venture of Westlink and the Walsh Companies. In addition to holding licenses for a 50/12.5 kHz NPCS channel in the West and Central Regions, Benbow provides paging and two-way mobile services in Northern California through its Cal Autofone and Repco operations. -0- FLEX and ReFLEX25 are trademarks of Motorola Inc.
CONTACT: Shandwick Public Affairs
Michael Vernetti, Michelle Wesley, 202/383-9700
Irene Moore, 770/623-2449
For Westlink Paging
Mike Brennan, 206/340-6138