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PANASONIC, SOUTHWESTERN BELL WORKING ON NEW WIRELESS PHONE THAT WILL FIT IN POCKET, WORK IN THE OFFICE AND AROUND TOWN

 PANASONIC, SOUTHWESTERN BELL WORKING ON NEW WIRELESS PHONE
 THAT WILL FIT IN POCKET, WORK IN THE OFFICE AND AROUND TOWN
 ST. LOUIS, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwestern Bell Corp. and Matsushita Communication Industrial Co. Ltd. have signed agreements to test a new wireless business phone system that brings mobility to the office phone. Matsushita markets cellular telephones in the United States under the Panasonic brand name.
 "This business phone will go into your pocket, not on your desk," explained Tom Barry, senior vice president-strategic planning for Southwestern Bell Corp. "You can make or receive calls from anywhere inside your office and from outside too, wherever cellular service is available.
 "The system allows you to have one phone number at the office, for both the phone in your pocket and the phone on your desk," Barry added. "People don't want to call offices, cars and homes -- they want to call other people. That's what personal communications services (PCS) are all about."
 Southwestern Bell has been working with Matsushita since December 1990 to develop requirements for the wireless business system. In September 1991, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted authority to Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems to conduct an experiment with this system. Since then, Southwestern Bell Technology Resources has been testing the system in its St. Louis County laboratories.
 Inside the office, the phones reuse cellular frequencies at low power to communicate with the office telephone system. Outside the office, the phones automatically switch to the cellular network and work as conventional cellular phones do. Because in-building calls are handled independently from the external cellular network, the system does not reduce outside cellular capacity or interfere with outside cellular calls.
 The wireless business phone system includes a central controller and multiple base stations that are located throughout the building. The controller attaches to any existing PBX (private branch exchange) or Centrex system, allowing users to keep the same office phone numbers they use today. Initially, each system will be able to handle up to 64 cellular handsets; to expand capacity, multiple systems can be installed in a building. The lightweight handsets will be compact enough to fit into a shirt pocket.
 Matsushita is responsible for the design and development of the equipment being used in the tests.
 Four Southwestern Bell companies are involved in the project. Southwestern Bell Corp. is coordinating with Matsushita and supervising the overall project. Southwestern Bell Technology Resources is conducting the technical tests in St. Louis County, using cellular frequencies licensed to Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems. Southwestern Bell Telecom plans to conduct the first field trial involving actual business users at its headquarters in Des Peres, Mo., in early 1992.
 Southwestern Bell will identify several business customers who will participate in later field trials during 1992. Successful field trials could lead to the new system being marketed to business customers late in 1992.
 Southwestern Bell's recent involvement in personal communications services (PCS) includes a successful test earlier this year of the first microcell fully integrated into a cellular system, and an FCC license application to experiment with pocket phones in Houston. The Houston application is for frequencies outside the cellular band; this application is still pending.
 Matsushita Communication Industrial Co. Ltd. manufactures and markets cellular, cordless and consumer phones; audio and video equipment; and measurement and control devices throughout the world. Its subsidiary, Georgia-based Matsushita Communication Corp. of America, operates a Product Development Center in Atlanta, and manufactures cellular phones. The company is part of the Matsushita Group, which markets cellular phones in the United States under the Panasonic brand name.
 Southwestern Bell Corp., based in St. Louis, is an international communications corporation with 1 million shareowners. It provides a variety of products and services through its principal subsidiaries including Southwestern Bell Telephone, Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems, Metromedia Paging Services, Southwestern Bell Telecom, Mast Advertising and Publishing, Gulf Printing and Southwestern Bell International Holdings.
 -0- 12/19/91
 /CONTACT: George Stenitzer of Southwestern Bell, 314-235-7132; or Justin Camerlengo of Matsushita (Panasonic), 201-392-4437/ CO: Southwestern Bell Corp.;
 Matsushita Communication Industrial Co. Ltd. ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU: PDT


CH-AL -- LA006 -- 3807 12/19/91 10:45 EST
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Date:Dec 19, 1991
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