CHICAGO -- Aug. 6 -- 360 Communications (NYSE: XO), the second largestindependent cellular company in the United States, today began offering thenext generation of wireless telephone technology -- Code Division MultipleAccess (CDMA) digital service -- to its Las Vegas cellular customers.
360 Communications is one of the first companies to deploy CDMA digitaltechnology, and its Las Vegas commercialization comes on the heels of asix- month market trial in which the company thoroughly tested andevaluated the service.
CDMA digital service offers 360 customers the latest wireless technology,while enabling 360 to increase its network capacity in anticipation offuture customer growth in Las Vegas, one of the most penetrated cellularphone markets in the country.
CDMA digital technology will allow 360 to increase call handling capacityat least six times that of analog technology and more than double thecapacity of N-AMPS, an enhanced analog technology widely used today andfirst introduced in the United States by 360 Communications in Las Vegas.
"Digital service is a natural extension of our current network in SouthernNevada, which uses both analog and N-AMPS," said Dennis Foster, presidentand chief executive officer of 360 Communications. "Our existing networkis performing exceptionally well for our customers and is more thanadequate to meet our current growth needs. With CDMA, we're positioned toplan ahead for future growth, and we're able to offer digital service forcustomers who want the next generation of wireless technology.
"In major population centers, like Los Angeles or New York, cellular phonecompanies are deploying digital technology to increase call capacityrequirements. Because 360 Communications operates in medium-sized citiesand in smaller metropolitan and rural areas, we've been able to deploytechnology on our own timeframe -- and well ahead of our need for increasedcall handling capacity," Foster continued.
"Our strategy, to migrate from analog to N-AMPS and digital, is exceedingour expectations. In the long run, CDMA digital technology will allow usto deliver the most comprehensive and competitive product offerings to ourcustomers. Because of our experience with digital service in Las Vegas, wewill be better able to move from analog to digital in other 360 markets ifnecessary for capacity or competitive reasons," Foster said.
Motorola is providing the infrastructure and switching equipment for 360Communications' entire network in Las Vegas.
"360 clearly has an outstanding digital migration strategy," said JackFinlayson, corporate vice president and general manager of Motorola's PanAmerican Wireless Infrastructure division. "360 is deploying technologythat delivers timely value to customers while optimizing network andoperating efficiency. This is what it takes to win in a competitiveenvironment. Motorola is pleased to team with 360 as it becomes one of thefirst cellular companies in America to commercialize CDMA digital service."
Digital service from 360 Communications, which will be available in thecompany's Las Vegas retail stores beginning today, will offer customersexceptional call quality, improved in-building reception, increased privacyand protection against fraud. In addition, CDMA digital phones use lesspower, extending battery life.
Initially, 360 will offer dual-mode CDMA digital phones manufactured by SanDiego-based Qualcomm Personal Electronics, a joint venture of SonyElectronics and Qualcomm, Inc.
"As the developer of CDMA digital technology, Qualcomm worked closely withour licensee, Motorola, to bring 360 Communications' CDMA system intocommercialization," said Dr. Paul Jacobs, senior vice president and generalmanager of Qualcomm subscriber products business unit. "Starting today,360 Communications' customers will experience first hand the benefits thatCDMA delivers: enhanced coverage, greater security and improved talk andstand-by time."
Because digital service is a natural evolution of 360Communications'network, the company will not place a premium on the cost ofservice to its Southern Nevada customers. Customers will be able tosubscribe to any existing rate plan with the option to purchase either adigital or analog cellular phone. As with analog service, digital handsetcosts will vary according to individual rate plans.
In the future, 360 plans to offer its Las Vegas customers enhanced digitalservices such as customized text and numeric messaging, calleridentification and pager notification.
Chicago-based 360 Communications provides wireless voice and data servicesto more than 1.75 million customers in nearly 100 markets throughoutAlabama, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, NorthCarolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas andVirginia. In addition to the New York Stock Exchange, 360 Communications'stock is listed on the Chicago and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbolXO.