“Customers really don’t care about frequency, whether it’s 1,900 MHz or 850 MHz,” said Robert Allen, AT&T chairman. “They care about services.”
To handle heavy roaming, AT&T will tap Nokia Mobile Phones to build dual-band, dual-mode phones for its new Digital PCS wireless communication service.
Under a three-year $240-million deal, Nokia will build TDMA phones that will operate at both the 800-MHz and 1,900-MHz bands. Jointly, the two networks will reach a potential 212 million customers. The phones will also run on analog networks when the user is outside AT&T’s digital network territory.
Dual-mode, dual-band phones should be available early next year. Customers who buy a $150 to $250 phone this year for Digital PCS will be able to upgrade.
With the announcement, AT&T is essentially integrating its existing cellular network with its forthcoming PCS network to offer a larger digital footprint to its customers, said Michael King, a research analyst with the BellSouth Foundation. However, the name may be confusing to some customers who have heard all the hype around the multibillion-dollar Federal Communications Commission’s auctioning off of the 1,900-MHz spectrum, which is usually referred to as the PCS spectrum, King said.