You CAN take it with you!|
Telephones have provided an electronic voice connection between people for over 100 years. They have moved from novelty to necessity - From the street corner, to the home, to the car, to the briefcase, and to the pocket.
The first mobile phones were simple radios. Users paid high prices for the priviledge of sharing a handful of frequncies. Calls were placed through a mobile operator.
Then AMPS was born - Advanced Mobile Phone Service. A large set of frequencies was made available and calls were directed by computers instead of operators. Making reaching a mobile phone as easy as dialing the assigned number.
The big breakthrough in AMPS was the cellular nature of the service. The frequency set was divided and each set assigned to a small area - with towers up to 15 miles apart. (Wider spacing usually left holes in the service area.) The frequency sets could be reused in non-neighboring cells, and if a cell was being used beyond its capacity a new tower could be constructed and the frequencies resorted to provide additional connections.
The number of users supported on the network was no longer limited to the handful of mobile
frequencies available and the range of a single tower. The computers even handled handoffs
between towers electronicly, allowing users to travel while talking with minimal interuption.
The FCC, keeper of frequencies in the United States, divided the cellular frequencies assigned to a given area in half ... giving 416 channels of service to each of two companies. One company, the "A" carrier, was called 'non-wireline' and was generally a company that did not provide regular wired phone service in the area where they got the cellular license. The other company, the "B" carrier, was called 'wireline' and was usually a local phone company.
The "A" companies joined together in roaming agreements (since they generally did not compete against each other in the same areas) and the "B" companies joined in their own agreements. This made it possible to leave your local cellular company's area and still use your phone.
The "A"/"B" division made it easier to select a carrier and compare coverage. This site once contained simple maps intended to help with that comparison - however recent changes in wireless phone systems, ownership of systems, and cooperative agreements have rendered such simple comparisons nearly useless.
Mergers between large phone companies have also blurred the lines between "A" and "B" cellular.
As the out of town company who owned the "A" system merged with the local company that owned
the "B" system, systems that duplicated coverage were traded or sold to new operators.
Personal Communication Service|
In 1997 new licenses were issued in six bands of Personal Communications Service, or PCS. While buildout of towers using the new frequencies will take time, the effect on ownership and agreements between operators has already been felt. Newer phones are preprogrammed with a preferred set of service providers (and sometimes locked so that they cannot be used with other providers). These phones will automatically find 'the right' provider, without the user needing to select cellular "A"/"B" or which PCS service to use.
Mega-systems are now emerging that provide 'local' coverage across several states - with roaming coverage that doesn't nessisarily follow the "A" roams on "A" - "B" roams on "B" trend of the not so distant past.
One mega-system that changed the map in the Midwest is "Verizon Wireless" - a new company
made up of systems formerly owned and operated by AirTouch, Ameritech (systems purchased by
GTE), Bell Atlantic, GTE, and a few AllTel systems that were traded to GTE/BA. Also in the
mix is the PCS service provider "PrimeCo".
The new combination of services has changed the face of mobile service. It is hard to keep track of the names of all the technologies and radio services involved. Is it old 800 MHz Cellular? How about CDMA or TDMA Cellular? Or is it PCS band service? The labels given by marketers don't always match what the service really is.
For that matter, the concept of a mobile phone (keep it in your car) has transformed into
a portable phone (keep it with you) or even a personal phone (wear it).
Telecom Indiana, Chicago and Beyond|
My site has tried to make searching for telephone information relating to Indiana and beyond easier. I do not hold stock nor am I employed by any telephone company - the information on these pages are NOT a recomendation and users should check with the carrier before deciding on a service.
Written / Compiled By|
James Bellaire <email@example.com>
Telecom Indiana .com|