Motorola and public safety agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area plan to build an LTE network that will go live in early 2011. Meanwhile, the FCC approves MetroPCS' first LTE handset.
The San Francisco Bay Area will be getting a 4G LTE network in early 2011.
Motorola's Enterprise Mobility
Solutionsbusiness and the public safety agencies in the San Francisco Bay
Area announced July 29 a plan to begin installing a 700MHz Long-Term Evolution
system later in 2010 that will serve agencies across the Bay Area, including
San Francisco, Alameda County/Oakland, Contra Costa County and the cities of
Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.
"This agreement represents a first step in realizing the BayRICS
(Regional Interoperable Communications System) vision for a unified,
state-of-the-art, mission-critical voice and broadband multimedia network,"
Laura Phillips, general manager of the Bay Area UASI (Urban Area Security
Initiative), said in a statement.
Combining a hardened LTE overlay network with UASI's Project 25 voice and data networks, Phillips said, creates
an opportunity to "equip our first responders with the advanced
communications tools they need to better protect themselves and our
Sheriff Gregory Ahern,
with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, added that the deployment will have a
"huge impact" on public safety conditions in the area. "This is
one of the most, if not the greatest, technological advancements in my 30-year
law-enforcement career, and it will have a huge impact on our [ability] to
provide improved services to our communities," Ahern said.
Motorola earlier in 2010 announced plans to split into two separate
companies, one consisting of its Mobile Devices and Home units and the other of
its Enterprise Solutions and Networks units. In July, the Wall
Street Journal first reported that Motorola was in talks with competitor Nokia
Siemens Networks about selling off its wireless network infrastructure
business. The sale, estimated at $1.2 billion, would reportedly enable
Motorola to put more resources into its
two remaining business areas-Motorola Mobility, focused on smartphones
and televisions, and its public service and business radio systems business,
Nokia Siemens Networks is currently also involved in a burgeoning LTE
network called LightSquared. Backed
byPhilip Falcone's Harbinger Capital
Partners, it would be the nation's first "wholesale" 4G LTE
network, and would combine resources from Nokia Siemens Networks and
satellite-communications company SkyTerra Communications.
While Clearwire, which is predominantly owned by U.S.
carrier Sprint, is the nation's first 4G network based on WiMax, there's a
still a race to flip the switch on the first U.S. LTE-based network. Likely
frontrunner Verizon Wireless has reported that it is on track to roll out its
LTE network in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Dual-mode 3G/4G handsets will be among the devices that will be able to take
advantage of these speedy networks, and on July 29 the Federal Communications
Commission approved the first LTE handset-the Samsung SCH-R900-for
The handset features dual-band 1700/1900 and dual-mode
LTE/EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) support, a slide-out QWERTY keypad, WiFi
and Bluetooth stereo connectivity, and a MicroSDHC slot. Samsung first introduced
the handset at the CTIA Wireless trade show, paired with MetroPCS' announcement
that it would roll out LTE service in Las Vegas
in September-ahead of Verizon's LTE kickoff. That network, however, has yet to
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.