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the wireless messaging news

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Wireless News Aggregation

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Saturday — July 26, 2014 — Issue No. 615

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Paging and Wireless Messaging Home Page image Newsletter Archive image Carrier Directory image Recommended Products and Services
Reference Papers Consulting Glossary of Terms Send an e-mail to Brad Dye

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Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

“Better late than never!”

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The actual 4th Era Smartphone associated with Google – Nexus four.

July 26, 2014

Google has completely engaged within the mobile telephone industry. They’ve totally collaborated using the country’s top developer associated with high-quality cell phones, LG.

Talking about Nexus 4’s style, it could be defined through one term: premium. Though you need to clearly admit that isn’t close towards the clear reduce design of the extremely first Nexus 1. The general façade from the Nexus 4 is extremely minimalistic along with clean reduce surfaces. It is actually somewhat like the Galaxy Nexus associated with 2011. The rear on this particular phone, nevertheless, is the far weep from which of it’s predecessor. It sports an awesome pattern style that is comparable to the LG Optimus Grams. Depending which angle you are considering, you’ll observe alternating filled patterns throughout. One drawback to the fact that it consists of glass, it somehow provides very slick feel. Much more bad information: it may slide lower on surfaces despite the smallest inclination. In addition to that, the cup surface causes it to be a magnetic for lint, dust and people ugly finger prints.

The cut sports the matte coating and you’ll discover the energy buttons and also the volume rockers. The keys will also be fairly distinctive and also have an amazing tactile overall performance too. Looking at the rear of the telephone, you’ll discover the 8 megapixel digital camera that has a amazing auto focus as well as an BRIGHT flash that is capable associated with recording as well as shooting 1080P movies.

The display about the other the actual Nexus four is absolutely nothing that benefits up curiosity. Although you’ll truly look twice whenever you see it’s 4.7 in. screen, using a 768 by 1280 Accurate HD IPS In addition Display having a pixel denseness of 318 PPI. This somehow provides natural searching colors, giving it an authentic look the industry breath of outdoors from individuals over soaked colors caused the AMOLED technologies. Another plus with this phone could it be works nicely even underneath the broad daylight due to the mighty lighting output as well as impressive watching angles. This phone can also be protected through the Gorilla Cup 2 that is highly proof to scrapes, but once again, since it’s glass, it’s a magnet associated with fingerprint smudges making it look unsightly.

Looking in the centre of this particular phone, it’s nonetheless powered through the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Professional Quad-core from 1.5 GHz as well as 2 GB associated with RAM. This processor chip alone may guarantee a buttery hanging around performance. Something that you’ll need to live with may be the phone’s inability to maximize its storage space—so attempt to store your own stuff within an 8 GB or even 16 GB range. [source]

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About Us

A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn't fill up your incoming e-mail account.

There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world's major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It's all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.

I regularly get readers' comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.

I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won't have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.

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Editorial Policy

Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.

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Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert Systems
Critical Response Systems
Easy Solutions
Hahntech USA
Hark Technologies
Infostream Pty Limited
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
WaveWare Technologies
WiPath Communications

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American Messaging

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American Messaging

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2630 National Dr., Garland, TX 75041

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Easy Solutions

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Easy Solutions

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Implementing encryption on pagers

Written by Paul Schlusser — Technical Director, Infostream Pty Ltd.


The paging industry is at towards developing a paging encryption standard for FLEX and POCSAG. Operators and manufacturers are concerned about the effects of bandwidth utilisation and pager sensitivity because of a commonly held, but largely mistaken impression that encryption could lead to degradation of either or both.

This paper discusses encryption techniques as they apply to pagers and demonstrates that other than the entirely solvable problem of agreeing on a cryptographic nonce, * a stream ciphered paging message is no more likely to be received incorrectly than an unencrypted one, and aside from the nonce transmission itself, need be no longer than the original message. We also make the case to eschew proprietary systems that rely in part on implementation secrecy as part of their security because they cannot be verified and because they are not interoperable – an increasingly important requirement in todays paging technology environment.

* In security engineering, a nonce is an arbitrary number used only once in a cryptographic communication. Nonce — stands for “number used once” or “number once.”


Encryption is the hot topic on the agenda in the paging business and is generating some excitement and interest in the lead up to the CMA conference in Miami. And for an industry that has been sorely lacking in excitement for nearly a decade, that can only be a good thing! Encryption in paging can mean a lot of things to different people. However in this article, we’re just going to focus on the problem of encryption from paging terminal to pager. This is the area of most concern for a number of reasons, not least of which is that now, thanks to the Internet, scanners and abundant PCs it is almost laughably easy for anyone with even the most rudimentary technical knowledge to snoop on any POCSAG or FLEX paging channel reading every message that goes to air. When those messages contain sensitive operational information on security operations, patient details and the like, it stops being a laughing matter and becomes an issue of legislative compliance and customer/client confidentiality. Unfortunately the subject of encryption is full of mystery, speculation and misinformation. Partly this is in response to the general perceived complexity of the subject (encryption is after all, all about obfuscation) but also it’s fair to say that manufacturers of paging equipment (infrastructure and pagers) have added to that confusion through a desire to protect intellectual property and frankly, just plain bad implementations. For example, there is an all to common mistaken notion that in order for any encryption system to be secure, its method of operation should itself be a secret. Then there is the persistent and nearly universally held idea that encryption will either increase the size of a paging message and/or decrease the sensitivity of the pager.

The purpose of this article is to shine some light on how encryption works in the paging context and hopefully thereby, go some way towards dispelling these mistaken notions. It is based on years of work at Infostream and its sister companies with encrypted pagers and the practical experience of implementing a variety of encryption systems both in paging receivers and infrastructure.

The need for transparency and a public standard

Ironically, for an encryption system to be secure, it needs to be public. In pre-computing times, information was kept secure by hiding it. Secret notes, invisible ink and secret encoding systems were the mainstays of information security. However in the latter half of last century, it was realised that certain mathematical operations could be made so complex and yet sufficiently simple to implement with electromechanical systems and ultimately electronics, that it no longer became necessary to be secretive about how the encryption was done. Instead, one could rely on the unbreakable nature of the encryption system itself for the security, when used with a secret key. That was a fundamental shift in approach.

Early encrypting machines that relied on this principle, such as the German Enigma were actually pretty good given their mechanical limitations, and it took a lot of clever mathematics and computing power to break them. Of course, the workings of the machines themselves were still closely guarded secrets (well, not so much as it turned out), but the secrecy was really just an admission that the machine itself was not perfect – it was after-all, a battlefield appliance constructed with cogs, switches and light-bulbs.

These days, we have powerful computers (even in our smallest and cheapest pagers) that make effectively unbreakable security a practical reality. Mathematicians, scientists and engineers have developed encryption standards that are impenetrable to any feasible means of cryptographic attack even if you know beforehand, exactly how the encryption is done. These standards are called AES128, IDEA, DES, RC4 and the like and you can find the description of how they work, including source code to make them work on Wikipedia (and plenty of other places). The only thing that needs to be kept secure is the encryption key.

However, an unbreakable encryption algorithm doesn’t ensure a secure encryption system. The algorithm, or encryption standard employed is important, but it is all too easy to take a strong algorithm and produce a weak system overall because of implementation flaws or poor design choices. It is not nearly sufficient to disclose or insist that the encryption uses AES 128 bit, or IDEA or whatever standardised cipher is employed. If the implementation is wrong or badly done, the encryption can be as good as useless. The only protection for the paging user is transparency – better, if the system is both transparent and standardised.

Revealing how a system works means that it can be examined for design and implementation flaws. If say, you obtained an opaque black box encryption system from a hostile government based on say, AES128 and they said, “trust me” – would you? Even if you could know for sure that there was AES128 inside somewhere, how would it be possible to know for sure whether it was used properly or indeed, at all?

Even putting aside the obvious benefit to the customer of having interoperable equipment, by standardising the system from the point of encryption to the point of decoding, all manufacturers would of necessity, be forced to examine the system in detail as part of their implementation and any weaknesses will almost certainly be quickly exposed. A single manufacturer, working on their own has neither the resources, nor frankly, the motivation to expose any flaws in a proprietary solution.

That is not to say that open software source is required to be confident of the solution. If the encryption system is standards based and the implementation methodology is clearly disclosed from message plus encryption key to pager screen, with a description and/or block diagram, sufficient for a third party to implement an equivalent, verification of the implementation and security is very straightforward even without source code.

Encryption misconceptions

In this article, we’re not going to attempt to propose encryption standards for use in the paging applications, but rather to discuss some of the issues that must be solved to make encryption work, based on a solid theoretical understanding and plenty of practical implementation experience. Specifically we are going to look at the issues of message size increase and pager sensitivity reduction and why these might arise. And importantly, why neither is a necessary outcome of the encryption process.

Before tackling the two issues specifically, lets first have a look at the basic approaches to encryption that are relevant to paging. There are may ways to encrypt messages besides the two covered below and for those interested in the subject and the history of cryptography in general, I’d highly recommend Simon Singh’s extremely readable book on the subject “The Code Book.” However we’ll stick specifically to the subject of paging.

Approaches to encryption — block and stream ciphers

Block ciphers work by dividing a message into fixed sized blocks of data that are then successively encrypted using the encryption algorithm operating with the secret key. Decryption of the message works by performing the exact same operation a second time. In the decryption process, the encrypted message is first divided into blocks that are converted back into the original text using the same algorithm and key. With a few extra twists and precautions taken into account, without the encryption key it is impossible recover the original message.

Some simple (and obvious to a cryptanalyst) mistakes can arise if the most naïve approach described above is used without some precautions. As just one simple example, one might record the paging message over the air and replay it at a later time to create false alarms. Worse still, if someone knew what the original message said (say, by peeking over a shoulder of the paging user), it might be possible to rearrange the order of the blocks in the message to change the meaning of the original message sent, perhaps making the message look like a new meaningful message.

Although there are very straightforward ways to overcome these simplistic forms of attack, the example serves to illustrate that merely claiming to use one particular standard or another doesn’t make for a secure paging system.

Stream ciphers work by combining the original message (usually by performing a bitwise “exclusive or” – which is basically a binary addition function without any carry forward), with a semi-random sequence of numbers or binary bits, generated using the encryption algorithm and the secret key. The semi-random (or pseudo-random) sequence is known as the key-stream. Decoding the message, as with the block cipher, is exactly the same as the encoding – the encoded message is combined again with the key-stream leaving the un-encoded message as the result.

Importantly, stream ciphers do not need to divide the original message into blocks and equally importantly for reasons we’ll cover in a moment, the message is only combined with the key-stream on a bit by bit basis to accomplish the encryption. The original message never passes through the encryption algorithm directly.

The key-stream itself is often generated from a standard block cipher using a seed value that is known in the cryptographic business as a “nonce.” In effect, the block cipher algorithm (AES, IDEA etc.) is used to encrypt the nonce, and the resulting output is the required pseudo random key-stream used in the encryption.

Advantages and disadvantages

Block ciphers are the simplest and most straightforward way to apply an encryption algorithm to a message. By following a few well-understood special precautions, the encryption process can be made impenetrably secure from attack. Bulk encryption of data on the Internet is commonly done using block ciphers.

In the paging context however, the block cipher approach has two major drawbacks. Firstly, the transmission size must always be an even multiple of the encryption block. Because the cipher is necessarily block oriented, any message that doesn’t completely fill the final block must be padded to fill out with extra characters. That process increases the message length and wastes precious airtime.

Secondly, corruption (even a single bit) within a given enciphered block will render the entire block unrecoverable. For paging, that’s very bad – bit errors are a way of life in the paging world.

Of these two listed disadvantages, the second is the real killer. Employing a block cipher for paging is one sure way to dramatically reduce the sensitivity of your pager. Even single bits errors are amplified by the encryption system to render thirty-six entire characters of your message unreadable (assuming a two-fifty-six bit block size divided into seven bit characters).

On the other hand, a stream-ciphered message is exactly the same size as the original plain text. Because stream ciphers operate by pseudo randomly flipping bits in the original message, one bit in the cipher-text corresponds to one bit in the clear-text. No padding is required.

And for similar reasons, the enciphered message is no more susceptible to bit errors than an un-enciphered one. Any single bit corruption in the received message will result in exactly a single bit of corruption in the decoded message. No loss of pager sensitivity will result. That is true for one, two or any number of corrupted bits.

The major, and really only meaningful disadvantage of a stream cipher in the paging context is that a unique nonce is required for each message. The nonce doesn’t need to be a secret, but it must be agreed between the sender and the receiver and it must be unique for each message. Note that the nonce IS NOT the same as the encryption key. The encryption key absolutely must be a secret and in fact it should be the ONLY secret between the parties. The nonce is unique to the message, but the key needn’t be.

The nonce serves to make the key stream used for each message unique. If the same key-stream were used for two messages and one message becomes known (by peeking over a shoulder), then any message encrypted using the same key-stream would be easy to deduce.

Block or stream cypher?

Now having covered some of the relevant basics of encryption, let’s specifically turn to the question of sensitivity loss and paging bandwidth usage.

As shown above, for block ciphers, both loss of sensitivity and increase in bandwidth are absolutely a likely outcome in the paging context. Padding out any given paging message up to the next block of thirty-six (36) or so characters is clearly going to waste a lot of airtime. Similarly, single bit errors that render entire blocks of text unrecoverable will clearly have a dramatic effect on pager sensitivity. For those two reasons alone, nothing more needs to be said about block ciphers from a paging perspective. They fail two fundamental practicality tests. So what about stream ciphers?

On the face of it, stream ciphers appear to be the perfect solution for paging – the encryption process does not enlarge the message, nor are errors amplified. However, there is the troublesome problem of the nonce. Without a nonce, the stream cipher is left wide open to attack. The Germans learnt this to their peril (or rather suffered from it, because they were unaware of their mistake) during World War Two when some very clever Brits were able to reverse engineer an entire high-level command encryption system that they code-named “Tunny.” For the fascinating history and how it led the first true fully electronic computer, see or visit the fabulous museum at Bletchly Park, next time you are in the UK.

Solving the nonce problem

In the paging context, the fundamental problem for stream ciphers is “how does the pager agree with the message sender about the nonce?”

There are few possible answers to this question described below. Each answer has its merits and disadvantages. By combining the approaches, a very practical approach can be obtained.

Clear-text transmission

The sender tells the receiver what the nonce is, in plain text. This seems counterintuitive but is entirely valid. Because the nonce is used to seed the encryption process, surely sending it in plain text will reduce the security? But in fact it turns out not to be the case. Cryptologists have long since mathematically proven that even if you know that the first nonce used was “one”, the second “two,” and can easily guess than the next will be “three”, you have learned nothing that will practically aid in decrypting subsequent messages.

Learning the nonce does not enable the attacker to deduce the key-stream any more easily, so long as the encryption system used is strong enough (as are all of the well studied international standards). If knowledge of the nonce did allow easier deduction of the key-stream that it produced, that would be considered a fatal flaw in the encryption standard and the standard would have been rejected. Standards have been discarded for a lot less!

Remember, the nonce is NOT the encryption key. The disadvantage of sending the nonce in this way (or sending it at all) is that if it is corrupted (due to bit errors in the transmission), the entire message will be unrecoverable. And of course, the nonce requires airtime to transmit albeit it can be made quite small.

Sending the nonce doesn’t solve the replay attack problem either. Since the nonce is part of the message, it’ll be just as valid tomorrow as it is today.

Time-based nonce

The nonce can be based on time. Time has the advantage of never repeating itself (ever) and is freely known to everyone. We assume here that the pager is synchronised to some known time-base and thus has an accurate clock. For FLEX, that is easy because it’s a synchronous protocol and has a time-setting standard built in. For POCSAG, it’s more of a problem because it is asynchronous and doesn’t have a (standardised) method for setting the time (something worthy of the CMA technical committee’s attention).

The time-based nonce seems like a great idea. It can be easily known by sender and receiver, it takes no extra airtime per message to transmit, and is inherently immune from corruption so can’t affect the pager sensitivity. However, there are two fundamental problems to be solved for a time-based nonce.

The first is rounding ambiguity. No matter how accurately you can set the pager clock, there is always the slight possibility that when you convert the time to a number to seed the encryption system, the encoder and the pager will come up with different answers to the rounding problem. To illustrate this point, imagine two observers both looking at an analogue clock on the wall that reads 2:25:30 and are asked to tell the time to the nearest minute. Depending on how each observer reads the second hand, the time could be read either as 2:26 (rounded forward) or 2:25 (rounded backwards). If the same observers are looking at two separate digital clocks, albeit reasonably accurately synchronised, there will also be some possibility that when performing the rounding (to the hour, minute, second or millisecond) that two different answers will result.

The second problem is that of paging transmission delay. Time is a feasible way to generate a nonce (assuming the rounding problem is solved), but only if the message is encrypted with a time-based nonce that is accurate at the time of message transmission and consequently, reception. If the original message sender sends a message to the paging switch and there is congestion in the network, some seconds or minutes can elapse before the message goes to air – and by that time, the time-based nonce may be hopelessly out of date. Of course, you could send the time along with the message, but that’s tantamount to sending the nonce and is susceptible to the same problems described above.

One obvious way out of this problem is to have the encryption performed by the paging terminal and employing a nonce selected at the time of transmission. However that imposes a number of (not necessarily fatal) constraints.

For a start, the paging terminal itself must directly support encryption– you can’t just send your encrypted message to any old paging terminal via TAP that then just treats the encrypted message like any regular paging message. That’s not a problem if one can afford to replace or upgrade the terminal, but not so practical otherwise. That said, it’s worth pointing out that the encrypted stream will likely be full of potentially troublesome control characters that can very likely trip up an old encoder not designed (or debugged) to handle them. At Infostream, we’ve seen this problem first hand many times with our financial information pager that operated in over twenty different countries.

Furthermore, if the terminal performs the encryption, it must start with the unencrypted message. Even if one could send the message in an encrypted form to the paging terminal, it must become plain text prior to the over-air encryption and it is at least theoretically readable by the terminal operator/paging carrier. And of course the encryption key must (at least temporarily) be available to the paging terminal. It becomes a question of “who do you trust?” If you are building a private dedicated emergency services paging network, then you probably don’t have a problem. If you are a commercial paging customer using a public carrier, this might be a problem for you.

One advantage that FLEX has over POCSAG is that the time setting of FLEX is inherently unambiguous. While the FLEX time setting may not be perfectly accurate (although it’s pretty darn good), any inaccuracy doesn’t matter. Each frame and cycle in FLEX is both known and agreed upon by the terminal and the pager, so the absolutely accuracy relative to real time is irrelevant. There is perfect agreement between pager and terminal as to what the time is (at least as far as frame and cycle is concerned) and thus rounding errors while generating the nonce are avoidable.

However, that is not to say that POCSAG can’t employ the same trick. Although your average POCSAG pager will assume that a batch may start at any time, the terminal doesn’t have to do it that way. It is quite feasible to set a rule and have the paging encoder only generate a POCSAG batch that has a specific alignment to a given second or other convenient time interval. Let’s say for example, that the POCSAG encoder is designed so that the POCSAG batch (specifically the leading edge of the first bit of the first sync-code) always starts at a time that is an exact second as determined by the paging encoder. That means that for a given transmission, one might have to wait for (on average) about half a second before a batch can be started, but that’s a tiny price to pay – even when the network is congested. When congestion arises, the batching starts to get very long and the half-second delay becomes a very small fraction of the overall key-up time for the network.

Using this quasi-synchronous POCSAG approach, not only is there a very handy way for the pager to set it’s time accurately, it is also a perfectly agreed time between the paging terminal and the pager than can be maintained without too frequent time setting messages. So while it’s not exactly zero additional airtime required to generate the nonce, it’s as close as you’re likely to get.

One additional advantage of the time-based nonce approach is that it is inherently immune from replay attack. Any given time only occurs once, so the same message (say copied off the air and then replayed at a later time) will not be decoded correctly by the pager for a second time.

There are hundreds of ways of broadcasting the time to the pager, and the various technical committees can haggle over the best approach. Fundamentally, it must be unambiguous (not subject to rounding or inaccuracy) and sufficiently robust that the pager always has a good lock on the time. FLEX has this already but for POCSAG, it is a problem yet to be solved in a standardised way. There are plenty of easy to implement options.

As a starting point, we suggest using the code-word position within the POCSAG batch as part of the solution. It cannot be misunderstood by the pager and doesn’t rely on super accurate clocks and thus is much easier for a pager with a low quality crystal to disambiguate. By way of example, Infostream’s original OTA message confirmation system used the code-word position of the message and the time of the POCSAG batch (with much lower resolution) to unambiguously identify messages. The same principles would apply to generating an unambiguous nonce.

Sequential incrementing nonce

The third and final way we’ll discuss is the incrementing nonce approach. In this system, we might use a nonce that simply increments from message to message. The message sender starts by setting the nonce to say, zero, and each subsequent message simply increments the value. That’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t require accurate clocks and is immune to paging transmission delays so the original sender can encrypt the message prior to sending to the terminal. Thus, an intermediary, including the paging carrier, can never read the message.

Incrementing the nonce is also immune to replay. Once the nonce has been used up, the pager and terminal move onto the next and replaying the same message again will not result in a successful decode.

Unfortunately, incrementing the nonce does suffer from the problem of missed messages. If a message is missed, the pager and message sender will have a different idea of what the nonce would be for all messages after the missed one. One possible way of dealing with that is to be able (either automatically or manually) try out the next several sequences and see which one results in a successful decryption. The pager would take the next ten or so sequential nonce values (assuming you wish to guard against up to ten sequentially missed messages) and finds the one that doesn’t result in a whole bunch of unprintable control characters in the message. POCSAG alphanumeric messages uses an ASCII seven-bit character of which roughly one quarter are control characters and do not normally appear in a message. Thus, assuming that the decryption process results in a perfectly random sequence of characters without the correct nonce (and that is the highly desired objective for a good encryption algorithm), any wrong nonce will give a 25% chance of generating a control character for any given character position.

However this method isn’t particularly reliable for short messages. It is only with messages that are forty or more characters in length that the odds of a correct guess are good enough to be reliable. This problem is highly analogous to the problem of trying to guess (without knowing beforehand) whether a given POCSAG message is alphanumeric or numerically encoded. Anyone who’s written software for an off-air decoder for POCSAG will be familiar with the problem. At best, it’s a guess although it can be reasonably reliable if the message is long enough.

An alternative approach to resolving the nonce ambiguity is to encode a known value into the message that can be tested after decryption. Suppose that you insert three known characters at the start of the message prior to encryption. The probability of successfully decoding those three characters with the wrong nonce is roughly one in two million, or one in two hundred thousand if you are testing ten possible nonce values. That’s probably good enough to rely on. To be frank, in the paging context, you have a much high probability of losing a message than one in two hundred thousand for many other reasons than a failure of the encryption system. Even with bit errors possible, so long as the BCH of the pager decoder doesn’t amplify the errors (which is feasible up to four bits, and even likely up to five), the odds of correctly determining the nonce are sufficiently high for practical purposes.

Car door remote controls with rotating codes use a similar approach and often scan up to a few dozen or even a hundred different codes ahead looking for a match. If you exceed that number of missed activiations, a special procedure is required to re-synchronise the remote with the receiver in the car. The same would apply to the encrypted pager.

In the context of a typical eighty character alphanumeric message, those three character represent less than four percent (4%) additional message payload. Technically, that’s a small loss in spectrum efficiency. The odds of a missed guess improve more than a hundred fold for each additional character and the immunity from bit errors improves. It just depends on the trade off to be made. There is little point in a system that has a one in a million chance of failure when losing a message through other means (out of range, fading, multipath etc.) is much closer to one in a thousand (on a good day).

The foregoing discussion on resolving ambiguity of an incrementing nonce assumes that you are relying solely on the pager to do the work. Another approach is to provide the end-user with a mechanism to manually step the nonce forward to account for any messages he/she might have missed. If the message they see on the screen looks obviously garbled, pressing a “missed message” button a few times would likely result in a good decode that to a human reader will be unambiguously the correct one. With enough computing power on-hand, and enough understanding of what makes a readable message, the pager might do ninety percent as well.

Other possible reason for loss of sensitivity

In the interest of thoroughness, it’s worth covering one additional mechanism whereby a pager’s sensitivity might reduce because of encryption in an effort to understand the common (mis)perception. And that mechanism is that the CPU load of performing the decryption might desensitise the paging receiver. It’s no secret that there are plenty of pager designs in the field that suffer from CPU related desensitisation. In consulting for paging carriers around the world, Infostream has measured pagers that desensitise by as much as 10 dB due to their backlight alone! Most reputable pager manufacturers however, have this problem well and truly under control. Buying the cheapest of the cheap and you take the risk. But those are not likely to be encrypted pagers.

The original Motorola Adviser pagers (and the subsequently derived designs, many still in production), famously display an envelope symbol on the screen while receiving a message and it’s a fair bet that this wasn’t some handy feature to inform the user that a message is about to arrive.

Of course any hypothetical desensitisation that would occur would only do so after the message is received (assuming that decryption only occurs after the message is received in full) and so the desensitisation effect, if there were any, would only affect subsequently received messages during the short time that decryption takes place. That’s a potential problem, but a slight one and certainly not an inevitable consequence of the decryption process itself.


Of the two basic approaches discussed to encrypting a pager signal over the air, block and stream ciphers, stream ciphers are the clear winner in the paging context. Stream ciphers can be generated from any of the international standard block ciphers, including 128 bit AES even with limited computing power available to the pager. Bit errors are not amplified and messages do not need to be padded to fill entire blocks, so neither increased bandwidth usage nor reduced pager sensitivity will result.

When it comes to generating a nonce to seed the cipher stream, a time based system is the clear winner as long as it is possible to implement the encryption in the paging encoder/terminal rather than sending the message encrypted from the source. Of course, you can encrypt the message from source to terminal as a separate process if that security is required. Mostly however, the problem relates to snooping the message over the air, because today, that is laughably easy to accomplish.

If the CMA is considering an encryption standard, the biggest question to ask is whether the encryption takes place at the encoder (opening up some useful possibilities) or at the original message sender (which presents some challenges). The encryption from sender to terminal is a fundamentally different communication and computing problem than the encryption from terminal to pager. Solving both encryption problems with a single technique is far from ideal. Given that many existing paging terminals are known to struggle with the arbitrary character streams that an encryption system would likely generate, encryption from the source suffers from some practical implementation problems already.

Even pagers that rely on traditional decoder chips (rather than implementing the decoding in a general purpose CPU) can still use the time-derived nonce approach for POCSAG using the techniques outlined in this paper, so retrofitting encryption to older pager hardware ought not be a problem – assuming that CPU and memory constraints allow for the additional encryption software.

There are many other issues to be resolved in defining an encryption standard for paging. Security of key management is certainly an issue in the paging terminal based encryption system but again, this depends on the type of system envisioned. Large dedicated public safety networks would benefit from a centralised key management system integrated into the paging switch. For public carriers, their customers might reasonably object.

Infostream supports the overdue initiative for an open industry-wide paging encryption standard. We believe that the industry should not support a standard that appreciably increases bandwidth utilisation or desensitises the pager because of certain parts the transmitted message that are more susceptible to bit errors. Neither of these are necessary outcomes of implementing encryption, if done correctly.

Nor would we recommend any paging user (on either side of the value chain) to rely on a proprietary system whose end-to-end method of operation is not available for public scrutiny and peer review. Merely claiming adherence to a standard, no matter how inherently secure, is not sufficient and secrecy of implementation should be regarded with suspicion, and not as an aid to security.

About Infostream

Infostream is a manufacturer of paging infrastructure and specialised pagers. Infostream has produced speciality pagers utilising encryption for financial market, medical and public safety applications for more than fifteen years.

[FLEX is a registered trademark of Motorola, Inc.]

Source: Infostream Pty Ltd

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State-of-the-art paging network infrastructure, fully supported at an affordable price – and it integrates with your other gear, include most makes of transmitters

Whether you are replacing or upgrading your existing network or building out new infrastructure, Infostream has the new equipment and systems that you need.

  • Optimised for mission critical and public safety networks
  • Highly integrated base station controller
    • GPS
    • 3G modem
    • HTML User Interface
    • Ethernet switch, IP and router
    • Optional integrated radio modems
    • Dual channel capable
    • Integrated off-air (self monitoring) receiver
  • Ultra high reliability configuration (99.999%)
  • Message encryption plug-in
  • Fully featured central site VOIP, CAD, HTML, TAP, TNPP, SMPP access
  • NMS integration including Nagios, SNMP and syslog
  • Comprehensive diagnostics including adjacent site monitoring
  • Deployed internationally in mission critical applications
  • 21 years of industry experience in design, build and integration

Infostream is a world leading supplier of paging and messaging infrastructure, specialized paging receivers and consultancy services. The company was founded in 1993 and has engineered and supplied equipment for some of the largest public safety networks and private paging customers around the world.

Medical • Fire • Police • Security • Mining • Petrochemicals • Financial Markets • Telemetry • Custom Applications

infostreamInfostream Pty Limited
Suite 10, 7 Narabang Way, Belrose, NSW 2085, AUSTRALIA
Sales Email: | Phone: +61 2 9986 3588 | Afterhours: +61 417 555 525

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One2many Enables Emergency Alerts on Small Cells

DEVENTER, The Netherlands, July 18, 2014

ETSI Plugfest successfully tests Cell Broadcast Wireless Emergency Alerts on LTE small cells.

one2many, the world's leading Cell Broadcast company, has today announced it has rounded up a successful ETSI organised Small Cell LTE Plugfest in Paris, where one2many contributed to successful interoperability tests to enable Wireless Emergency Alerts on LTE small cells as an extension of existing Cell Broadcast systems.

Cell Broadcast is worldwide known for its next generation Wireless Emergency Alert service on 2G, 3G and LTE as well as Wi-Fi networks. Over the years the role of CB in public safety has been expanding, making it possible for governments worldwide to make vital public announcements to millions of citizens, within seconds, on a location-aware basis, without violating subscriber privacy or being affected by network congestion. Some of the Public Warning initiatives around the world are: EU-Alert in The Netherlands, ETWS and Wireless Emergency Alerts (CMAS) launched in the United States by the FCC and FEMA

Maarten Mes, CEO of one2many said "Our customers have requested LTE small cells support on our Cell Broadcast systems, and the ETSI plugfest tests prove it works. Which means that we now support emergency alerts on LTE small cells, next to regular CDMA, GSM, 3G, LTE and Wifi networks."

The 2nd Small Cell LTE Plugfest was held from 23 June to 02 July 2014, organised by the Small Cell Forum, in partnership with European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and was hosted by the ORANGE Labs in Paris. By connecting its CBC and broadcasting live CMAS messages one2many enabled mobile network equipment vendors to assess their CMAS/Cell Broadcast product interoperability and verify the correct interpretation of 3GPP and other base specifications.

one2many provides Cell Broadcast technology to telecoms operators across the world. Cell Broadcast technology delivers a non-intrusive, real-time service for the distribution of text-based messages to mobile handsets, specific to their current location. Cell Broadcast is capable of broadcasting one single message to reach all mobile handsets in an area as small as one radio cell and as big as an entire country. Sending a message to millions of handsets takes a matter of seconds, making the service ideal for applications such as public warning, location-based services and mobile social media.

About one2many

one2many is the pioneer behind Cell Broadcast. Having built the world's first Cell Broadcast Centre in 1996, it can claim to have the most mature Cell Broadcast solutions on the market.

Formerly a part of Acision (previously known as LogicaCMG Telecom Products), one2many was established as an independent business in 2007. With the spin-off, one2many instantly became the world's market leader in Cell Broadcast with experience in excess of 80 installations, at 50 customers in more than 30 countries on all continents.

one2many has close relationships with all network infrastructure companies, major SIM vendors, leading handset manufacturers and industry standards organisations, and has a unique combination of both theoretical background and practical field experience in CB public warning and Dynamic Discount. This has resulted in the most mature cell broadcast product in the market with its initial release development starting in 1996, and today has the most extensive BSC, RNC, MSC, GAN and MME driver library in the market.

one2many has its headquarters in The Netherlands, Europe. Employees of one2many are currently based in offices and presence in the Netherlands, Dubai UAE, Serbia, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil and China.

one2many is an active member of standardisation committees such as ETSI, ATIS, 3GPP, TIA, EMTEL, EENA and the Cell Broadcast Forum.

For more information visit

About Cell Broadcast

Cell broadcast (CB) offers a non-intrusive, real-time service of distributing text messages and binary content to mobile handsets, specific to their current location. CB is capable of broadcasting one single message to reach all mobile handsets in an area as small as one radio cell and as big as an entire country. Sending a message to millions of handsets takes a matter of seconds. This is particularly important for emergency alert services and other time sensitive services, like dynamic discount and sports goal alerts.

Source: Digital Journal

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Ivy Corp 

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Critical Response Systems

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More than Paging.
First Responder Solutions.

Our patented technology notifies clinical personnel immediately, while tracking who receives and responds to each alarm. Users confirm or defer each event with a single button press, and analytic dashboards display response statistics in real time, as well as historically broken down by time, unit, room, and individual.

Our systems not only notify your personnel quickly and reliably, but also provide actionable feedback to fine-tune your procedures, reduce unnecessary alarms, and improve patient outcomes.

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Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

UNICATIONbendix king

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
Philip C. Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Web Site:
Mobile phone:847-494-0000
Skype ID:pcleavitt

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Product Support Services, Inc.

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Repair and Refurbishment Services

pssi logo


Product Support Services, Inc.

511 South Royal Lane
Coppell, Texas 75019
(972) 462-3970 Ext. 261 left arrow left arrow

PSSI is the industry leader in reverse logistics, our services include depot repair, product returns management, RMA and RTV management, product audit, test, refurbishment, re-kitting and value recovery.

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Leavitt Communications

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its stil here

It's still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250's, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

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Phil Leavitt

leavitt logo

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

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Visa Introduces New Cloud Payment Solutions Suite

Thu, 07/24/2014 — 10:57am
Ben Munson
Wireless WEEK

Visa today rolled out its Visa Cloud Payment Solutions suite geared toward OEMs, merchants and financial institutions.

The company is offering up the mobile payments suite for secure embedding of a Visa account on a mobile device and baking it into a mobile application.

“Visa Cloud Payment Solutions provides the standards, tools and services to turn any Internet-connected device into a secure vehicle for commerce,” Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital solutions at Visa, said in a statement.

The company broke down the new offering into two segments: support for new payment options and security. The solution supports wave-to-pay, click-to-pay and scan-to-pay.

Visa is replacing the traditional 16-digit account information found on standard magnetic strip cards with “tokens,” which the company said can be processed without sharing account information. Tokens can be stored on devices, within mobile applications and web-based applications. Because they’re based on existing ISO standards, tokens can be processed by the technology merchants and financial institutions already have in place.

Visa plans to make the technology fully commercially available in the U.S. by January 2015 and follow up shortly after in more countries. The company will release a series of APIs, SDKs and other product specifications in early 2015 as well. The new cloud payments solutions will be available through the existing Visa Ready program.

Source: Wireless WEEK

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Consulting Alliance

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Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.

Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

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Consulting Alliance

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Telemetry solution

Easy Application & Better Performance


NPCS Telemetry Modem


(ReFLEX 2.7.5)






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Preferred Wireless

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preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
5ASC1500 Parts: ATC, Memory Cards & Power Supplies    
3CNET Platinum Controllers 
2GL3100 RF Director 
1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis
40SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1GL3000L Complete w/Spares
3Zetron 2200 Terminals
1Unipage—Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
9Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers  
4Glenayre Universal Exciters, 1 UHF, 3 VHF
5Hot Standby Panel—2 Old Style, 3 New Style
25New and Used Cabinets & Open Racks 
38Andrews PG1N0F-0093-810 Antennas 928-944 MHz, Omni, 10dBi, 8 Degree Down-Tilt
4Andrews PG1D0F-0093-610 Antennas 928-944 MHz, Omni, 10dBi, 6 Degree Down Tilt
Link Transmitters:
1QT-5701, 35W, UHF, Link Transmitter
4Glenayre QT4201 & 6201, 25 & 100W Midband Link TX
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
2Eagle 900 MHz Link Transmitters, 60 & 80W
8Glenayre GL C2100 Link Repeaters
2Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
UHF Paging Transmitters:
20Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W
15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
3Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
40Motorola Nucleus 900 MHz 300W CNET Transmitters


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
10658 St. Charles Rock Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63074
888-429-4171 or 314-429-3000 left arrow

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Preferred Wireless

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critical alert CA Partner’s Program

Providing better communications solutions to hospitals across the country — together!

For CAS, strong partnerships remain key to providing our software-based communications solutions to our customers. These solutions include:

ca dr and nurse
nurse call systemscritical messaging solutionsmobile health applications

We provide the communication, training and resources required to become a CA partner. In turn, our partners provide customers with the highest levels of local service & support. CA Partners may come from any number of business sectors, including:

  • Service Providers
  • System Integrators
  • Value Added Resellers and Distributors
  • Expert Contractors
If you would like to hear more about our CA Partners program, we’d love to hear from you.

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Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update—newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm's permission.

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BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 17, No. 28July 16, 2014

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Correction: Rural Broadband Experiment Program Applications Due October 14

In last week’s edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, we reported that applications for the Rural Broadband Experiment program would be due on October 13, 2014—90 days after the release of Order. However, October 13 is a Federal Holiday (Columbus Day) and, under the Commission’s rules, where a filing deadline falls on a Federal Holiday, it is moved forward to the next normal business day.

Therefore, Rural Broadband Experiment applications are due on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Clients interested in finding out more about the Experiments opportunity should contact the firm without delay.

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Comment Sought on Interconnection Issues White Paper for Communications Act Update

On July 15, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) continued the process of seeking public input on updating the Communications Act by releasing a white paper focused on the interconnection of telecommunications networks (the fourth to date). Comments on the white paper are due by August 8, 2014.

The white paper, entitled “Network Interconnection,” seeks comment on “interconnection and peering agreements between communications networks and the role of government in regulating these agreements.” Specifically, the white paper asks:

  1. In light of the changes in technology and the voice traffic market, what role should Congress and the FCC play in the oversight of interconnection? Is there a role for states?
  2. Voice is rapidly becoming an application that transits a variety of network data platforms. How should intermodal competition factor into interconnection mandates? Does voice still require a separate interconnection regime?
  3. How does the evolution of emergency communications beyond the use of traditional voice service impact interconnection mandates?
  4. Ensuring rural call completion has always been a challenge because of the traditionally high access charges for terminating calls to high-cost networks. Does IP interconnection alleviate or exacerbate existing rural call completion challenges?
  5. Should we analyze interconnection policy differently for best-efforts services and managed services where quality-of-service is a desired feature? If so, what should be the differences in policy between these regimes, and how should communications services be categorized?
  6. Much of the committee’s focus in the #CommActUpdate process has been on technology-neutral solutions. Is a technology-neutral solution to interconnection appropriate and effective to ensure the delivery and exchange of traffic?
  7. Wireless and Internet providers have long voluntarily interconnected without regulatory intervention. Is this regime adequate to ensure consumer benefit in an all-IP world?
  8. Is contract law sufficient to manage interconnection agreements between networks? Is there a less onerous regulatory backstop or regime that could achieve the goals of section 251?

BloostonLaw has assisted a number of clients in making their voices heard in these proceeding. Clients interested in participating should contact the firm without delay.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Limits Lawsuits Under the False Claims Act

Think you might make a few bucks by blowing the whistle on a Universal Service Fund fraudster? The federal False Claims Act (FCA) allows a private citizen to sue an entity that has defrauded the federal government if the Justice Departments declines to do so. If the suit is successful, the private citizen is entitled to a percentage of the money recovered.

That’s exactly what a project manager of a telecommunications installer tried to do when he filed suit on behalf of the U.S. alleging that certain telecommunication companies violated the FCA while bidding for and being awarded contracts to install and operate communications networks under the E-Rate program for school districts and libraries throughout South Texas. The E-Rate program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) with funds it receives from the Universal Service Fund (USF). The plaintiff claimed that the defendants tampered with the competitive bidding process, engaged in “gold-plating of equipment provided, and substituted E-Rate ineligible products, thereby violating the FCA by presenting fraudulent claims for payment. The Justice Department declined to intervene.

As many of our clients know, USAC and the USF were created by the 1996 Telecom Act and the subsequently adopted rules of the FCC. USAC is an independent, non-profit corporation that collects mandatory contributions from telecom carriers and then distributes the funds to eligible recipients of USF, including successful bidders under the E-Rate program. To obtain E-rate funds, an applicant must develop a technology plan and submit it for approval to the state, to USAC or an entity approved by the FCC or certified by USAC as qualified to provide approval. A bidding process is then begun that when culminated, results in a request for discounts for the equipment and services to be provided.

In response to the lawsuit, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid claim. The lower court denied the motion but allowed the defendants to file an appeal before the lawsuit would proceed, which they did.

In a decision issued earlier this month by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the court held that the motion to dismiss should have been granted. It stated that the FCA may only be relied upon when the defrauded funds come out of the U.S. Treasury, or in other words, when the federal government has been the target of the fraud. Here, the funds are collected by USAC, a private corporation, and then distributed to USF recipients; the money is never deposited in the U.S. Treasury. Drawing upon a long line of cases, the Fifth Circuit found that courts have limited the FCA’s application to “instances of fraud that might result in financial loss to the Government.” Thus, said the court, although the U.S. may have a regulatory interest in the E-Rate program, it does not have a financial stake in its fraudulent losses.

While the federal government’s ability to challenge bogus claims for USF funding has been limited by this decision, the FCC can still impose monetary forfeitures on fraudsters and disqualify them from participating in USF programs. The Fifth Circuit decision remains subject to rehearing by the full panel of its judges and to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will keep our clients advised of any further developments.

FCC and NTIA Identify AWS-3 “Protection Zones” Ahead of November Auction

The FCC Wireless Bureau, in conjunction with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), last Friday identified a number of “Protection Zones” and adopted coordination procedures for commercial operations in portions of the AWS-3 bands (i.e., in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands) that will be shared with federal users on an ongoing basis in certain locations.

By way of background, federal incumbents in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands were required to develop and submit Transition Plans to implement relocation or sharing arrangements, and affected federal agencies have recently done so. Transition Plans contain information on these federal systems including the frequencies used, emission bandwidth, system use, geographic service area, authorized radius of operation, and estimated timelines and costs for relocation or sharing. Most of these federal incumbent systems will be self-relocated by the agencies using a portion of the AWS-3 auction proceeds. Other federal operations will remain in the band (such as locations where certain DoD systems operate or near one of 25 sites where federal earth stations may transmit). AWS-3 licensees must successfully coordinate with any existing federal incumbents prior to operating a base station that might interfere with government operations.

Companies that may participate in the AWS-3 auction (Auction No. 97) this November are strongly urged to identify federal government incumbent operations in or around their geographic areas of interest prior to bidding. Potential bidders should also identify Fixed Microwave and Broadband Radio Service (BRS) incumbents in the 2155-2180 MHz portion of the AWS-3 band since they will need to relocate or share in the cost of relocating incumbent systems they cannot protect from harmful interference. Our law firm has experience in working with Federal agencies and NTIA/FCC records in identifying incumbent operations and we are available to assist clients in their pre-auction due diligence upon request. The existence and number of incumbents needing relocation and/or protection can affect the value of the AWS-3 licenses, and therefore impact what you should be willing to bid.

The last-minute nature of the joint agency action was not without some controversy. In this regard, Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican who would prefer to see all federal operations cleared from the AWS-3 band, took the opportunity to criticize FCC management for a “breakdown in process.” “I can’t cast an informed vote on new coordination zones if I don’t know what those coordination zones are,” wrote Pai in a news release on Friday. “Voting first and then learning about what you’ve voted on is irresponsible.”

The AWS-3 auction will provide small and rural telephone companies and entrepreneurs with an opportunity to obtain paired channel licenses for flexible use spectrum that is particularly well suited for the provision of mobile and/or fixed wireless services, and which is contiguous with and complimentary to AWS-1 band licenses that were auctioned in 2006. It may be one of the last opportunities in the foreseeable future for our clients to obtain wireless spectrum for geographic areas as small as Cellular Market Areas (CMAs). A variety of paired and unpaired AWS-3 channel blocks will also be available for bidding on an Economic Area (or “EA”) basis.

FCC Reportedly Grants “Material Relationship Rule” Waiver to Grain Management

Bloomberg news service is reporting that the FCC has granted a request for waiver of FCC auction rules to a prominent Obama fundraiser and campaign donor.

According to Bloomberg, the FCC has granted a request for waiver of the material relationship rules to Grain Management LLC. As we reported last April, grant of the waiver would allow Grain, a minority-owned private equity company controlled by David Grain, to bid in upcoming FCC auctions as a small business in spite of having entered into several high-profile spectrum lease arrangements involving AT&T and Verizon. Former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard serves as a Senior Advisor to Grain Management.

We note that the leases Grain has with AT&T and Verizon do not involve set-aside spectrum or spectrum that was acquired with the benefit of small business bid credits. As a result, they don’t raise unjust enrichment issues that the material relationship rules were designed to prevent. Moreover, to the extent that Grain acquires AWS-3 or 600 MHz spectrum as a small business in upcoming FCC auctions, application of the material relationship rules going forward should presumably keep the company from leasing the capacity of licenses won at auction to the likes of AT&T and Verizon. Text of the Commission’s action was not available as our newsletter went to press, so we have not had an opportunity to review the fine print. Bloomberg reports that the item was approved 3-2 along party lines.

The material relationship rules were adopted by the FCC in the lead-up to the AWS-1 auction in 2006 as a way to prevent large companies from dominating through “non-controlling” investments in DEs.

Grain Management isn’t the only entity that has recently been actively seeking relief from the FCC’s “material relationship” rules in advance of the AWS-3 auction. In this regard, DE-advocacy group Minority Media and Telecom Council (MMTC) and Council Tree Communications are together urging the FCC to eliminate the attributable material relationship rule and to take other steps to increase minority and small business participation in upcoming auctions such as increasing bid credits to 40%. As we have previously noted, eliminating the attributable material relationship rule could have certain benefits, but could also open the door to deep-pocketed entities participating in upcoming auctions as DEs; and increasing bid credits to 40% isn’t likely to help our clients if everyone bidding has access to credits.

Grant of the waiver to Grain suggests that the company will be seeking to participate as a Designated Entity in the upcoming AWS-3 auction (“Auction No. 97”), and/or the 600 MHz broadcast incentive auction planned for next summer.

Law & Regulation

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FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for August Open Meeting

On Friday, the FCC announced the tentative agenda for its August 8 open meeting. There are two items on the list:

Enabling Nationwide Text-to-911 Service for the 21st Century: The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that establishes deadlines for covered text providers to be capable of delivering texts to appropriate 911 public safety answering points, and seeks comment on potential improvements to current text-to-911 technology, such as through better location information.

Part 17 Antenna Structure Report and Order: The Commission will consider a Report and Order to streamline and update the rules governing the construction, marking, and lighting of antenna structures. These updates will improve efficiency, reduce regulatory burdens, and enhance compliance with tower painting and lighting requirements, while continuing to ensure the safety of pilots and aircraft passengers nationwide

The Open Meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., and can be viewed live online at at that time.

Comment Deadline Set for Broadband Comparability Benchmark, Dormant Proceeding Termination

This week the FCC published its Public Notices seeking comment on a proposed methodology for calculating the “reasonable comparability” benchmark for fixed broadband services, and on whether certain docketed proceedings should be terminated as dormant. As a result, the comment deadline for both proceedings is August 20. While there is no opportunity for reply comments in the benchmark proceeding, reply comments on the proceeding to terminate dormant proceedings are due September 4.

Broadband Comparability Benchmark

As we reported in the July 2 edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) seeks comment on its proposed methodology for calculating whether the rates for fixed rural broadband service are reasonably comparable to rates for similar urban services. (WC Docket No. 10-90). Specifically, the WCB has proposed to use a weighted linear regression model to calculate the average urban rate, which would result in a broadband benchmark range from $68.48 to $71.84 for services meeting the current broadband performance standard of 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream, with the specific benchmark depending on the associated usage allowance.

Dormant Proceeding Termination

In the same issue, we also reported that the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB”) seeks comment on whether numerous docketed Commission proceedings should be terminated as dormant in its third Dormant Proceedings Termination Public Notice. The proceedings to be terminated include dockets in which no further action is required or contemplated by the FCC, as well as those in which no pleadings or other documents have been filed for several years. The termination of a dormant proceeding includes dismissal as moot of any pending petition, motion, or other request for relief that is procedural in nature or otherwise does not address the merits of the proceeding. Parties with pending proceedings at the FCC should review the list and consider filing comments. The proceedings to be terminated under this “clean out the cupboards” approach may contain issues that still need resolution. Some of the proceedings to be terminated concern proposals by individual carriers to obtain regulatory relief.

House Introduces Bipartisan Wi-Fi Innovation Act

House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) have introduced the “Wi-Fi Innovation Act”, legislation that is supposed to address growing spectrum demand by examining ways to improve spectrum efficiency and maximize its use.

“Demand for wireless spectrum is growing rapidly as smartphone and tablet users increasingly use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet,” said Latta. “To accommodate this demand and support future mobile development and innovation, we must utilize spectrum more efficiently. The Wi-Fi Innovation Act paves a pathway to maximize the use of spectrum and examine ways to expand the deployment of wireless networks and services across the country, so all can benefit from this next-generation technology.”

The Wi-Fi Innovation Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct tests within the 5 GHz spectrum band to determine if spectrum can be shared without interfering with current users. The bill also acknowledges ongoing efforts related to the development of critical safety applications in vehicles and other intelligent transportation initiatives and creates a study to examine the barriers to Wi-Fi deployment in low-income areas.

This legislation builds on Latta, Issa, Eshoo and Matsui’s desire to provide more unlicensed spectrum for consumers and innovators. Last year, the four members led a letter to then Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn urging the agency to make additional spectrum available for unlicensed use in the 5GHz band. These efforts coalesce with S. 2505, introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to target a portion of the 5 GHz band (5850-5925 MHz) for unlicensed use, as well as recent FCC initiatives to make more unlicensed spectrum available; but the competing consideration in any unlicensed spectrum allocation is whether the spectrum can be sold at auction, generating revenues for the U.S. Treasury and/or policy objectives of others in Congress. Bipartisan sponsorship of both the Senate and House bills may help overcome this issue. The legislation is aimed in part at expanding the availability of affordable WiFi in low income neighborhoods.

EPA Backs Down on Fast Adoption of Wage Garnishment Rules

Previously, BloostonLaw reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register notice that it would take direct final action to amend its claims collection standards to implement the wage garnishment provisions of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1982, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA), which would allow the EPA to garnish non- Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed to the United States, such as fines levied by the EPA, without first obtaining a court order. Direct final action would allow the rules to take effect on an expedited basis and without a full rulemaking process. Due to an outcry against the EPA's proposal, the EPA has announced that it will not take direct final action on this rule change. Although it is anticipated that the EPA will still move forward with changing its rules to allow for the garnishment of wages, it appears that the EPA will follow a rulemaking process before implementing the change.

FCC Poised to Adopt Text-to-911 Mandate

The FCC’s reaction to a large-scale 911 outage this past spring and a recent blog posting by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggest that the Commission is likely to take a firm stance in adopting new rules and enforcing existing rules that impact 911 service and public safety.

In the near term, this suggests the FCC is poised to adopt a text-to-911 regulatory mandate during its next Open Meeting on August 8th when a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is scheduled for a Commission vote. The item follows a text-to-911 Policy Statement that the FCC unanimously adopted last January.

Chairman Wheeler’s blog post, entitled “Updating FCC Policies and Processes,” recounts about a large-scale 911 outage that took place last April 9-10. The outage was centered in Washington state, but also affected large areas of other states across the country. Press reports and preliminary data available to the Commission indicated that in Washington alone, over 4,500 911 calls to PSAPs did not get through during a six-hour period.

The FCC’s investigation (PS Docket No. 14-73) is ongoing, but Wheeler blamed the outage on poor management of the transition to new networks and providers in the 911 ecosystem “not operating in a manner that is transparent to system users, regulators and each other.” The Chairman’s message was succinct: “Let me be plain—no company will be allowed to hang up on 911.”

In the wake of voluntary adoption of text-to-911 capability by the four major wireless carriers, the FCC Chairman went out of his way to note that “no other providers of text services have offered voluntary commitments to implement text-to-911.” This statement is somewhat misleading because carrier text-to-911 capability is meaningless when PSAPs lack the ability to process text-to-911 messages, and in many rural areas the PSAPs are not prepared. It also ignores the fact that Iowa Wireless Services LLC (iWireless) was one of the first service providers nationwide to implement text-to-911 capability. A number of iWireless member companies recently filed ex parte comments with the FCC noting that their networks were already capable of providing text-to-911 service upon PSAP request. The ex parte comments also urged the Commission not to impose advanced text-to-911 requirements that are not currently feasible—such as requiring Phase II location information to be delivered with emergency text messages —because PSAPs were not equipped for this capability and this would take carrier resources away from future efforts to implement NG911.


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With Advent of Small Cells, Some Local Governments Revisit Tower Regulations

Inside Towers reports that Plant City, Florida is contemplating wide-ranging changes in regulations on new cell towers and antennas, because communications technology has evolved and taller towers aren’t always necessary, or even desirable. The city wants greater emphasis on smaller, camouflaged towers; and there are indications that traditional cell towers would only be permitted in industrial areas, and property leased from the city. Those towers would also be banned from the downtown core, midtown, commercial zoning and the Airport Industrial Park. Under Section 332 of the Communications Act, state and local tower regulations “shall not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services; and (II) shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services.” It appears that state and local governments may now be considering whether the advent of small cell technologies, and unlicensed/low power wireless services such as WiFi, may be creating an environment in which stricter regulations can be placed on towers without violating Section 332. This approach, however, overlooks the fact that not all wireless operations can rely on clusters of small cells, especially in rural areas. Clients encountering unfavorable zoning regulations should contact us concerning the applicability of Federal restrictions.

Verizon to Offer Symmetrical FiOS Broadband Upload and Download Speeds

Telecompetitior is reporting that Verizon has recently begun boasting about a “unique capability of its fiber-to-the-home infrastructure that could provide a significant differentiation point in the competitive home broadband market.” Specifically, Verizon is planning to upgrade the speeds of its FiOS offering so that upload speeds are as fast as download speeds.

According to Telecompetitior, cable competitors will have a tough time matching this capability because the DOCSIS infrastructure that those companies use is designed to provide greater speeds downstream than upstream.

In its press release, Verizon cites a technology market research firm that suggests more than 20% of U.S. broadband households are uploading nearly as much content as they download. The firm further estimates that this number will increase up to 60% by 2017.

From the press release, the new FiOS Internet speed tiers are:

Existing Speeds New Speeds
15/5 Megabits per second (Mbps)15/15 Mbps
15/5 Mbps [SIC]25/25 Mbps
50/25 Mbps50/50 Mbps
75/35 Mbps75/75 Mbps
150/65 Mbps150/150 Mbps
300/65 Mbps300/300 Mbps
500/100 Mbps500/500 Mbps


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AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT: Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by August 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.

Calendar At-A-Glance

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Jul. 23 – Comments are due on LMCC Petition to Expand Conditional Temporary Authorization
Jul. 31 – FCC Form 507 (Universal Service Quarterly Line Count Update) is due.
Jul. 31 – Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Report is due.
Jul. 31 – FCC Form 690 (Mobility Fund Phase I Auction Winner Annual Report) is due.

Aug. 1 – FCC Form 502 (North American Numbering Plan Utilization and Forecast Report) is due.
Aug. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Aug. 1 – Reply comments are due on Citizens Broadband Radio Service FNPRM.
Aug. 4 – Reply comments on LMCC Petition to Expand Conditional Temporary Authorization are due.
Aug. 8 – Comments are due on the FCC’s Omnibus USF/ICC Order.
Aug. 8 – Comments are due on Fourth Congressional White Paper on Communications Act Update.
Aug. 11 – Reply comments are due on T-Mobile Data Roaming Petition.
Aug. 14 – Deadline for CAF Phase II Challenges.
Aug. 20 – Comments are due on WCB Public Notice on Terminating Dormant Proceedings.
Aug. 20 – Comments are due on Proposed Reasonable Comparability Benchmark for Broadband.
Aug. 29 – Copyright Statement of Accounts is due.

Sep. 1 – FCC Form 477 due (Local Competition and Broadband Reporting).
Sep. 4 – Reply comments are due on WCB Public Notice on Terminating Dormant Proceedings.
Sep. 10 – Reply comments are due on the Open Internet NPRM.
Sep. 10 – Reply comments are due refreshing the record on the 2010 Broadband NOI.

Oct. 13 – Deadline for applications for rural broadband experiments.

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or

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Prism Paging

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  • VoIP telephone access — eliminate interconnect expense
  • Call from anywhere — Prism SIP Gateway allows calls from PSTN and PBX
  • All the Features for Paging, Voice-mail, Text-to-Pager, Wireless and DECT phones
  • Prism Inet, the new IP interface for TAP, TNPP, SNPP, SMTP — Industry standard message input
  • Direct Connect to NurseCall, Assisted Living, Aged Care, Remote Monitoring, Access Control Systems

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Intelligent Solutions for Paging & Wireless Data

WiPath manufactures a wide range of highly unique and innovative hardware and software solutions in paging and mobile data for:

  • Emergency Mass Alert & Messaging
  • Emergency Services Communications
  • Utilities Job Management
  • Telemetry and Remote Switching
  • Fire House Automation
  • Load Shedding and Electrical Services Control

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PDT3000 Paging Data Terminal

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  • Built-in POCSAG encoder
  • Huge capcode capacity
  • Parallel, 2 serial ports, 4 relays
  • Message & system monitoring

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Paging Controlled Moving Message LED Displays

welcom wipath

  • Variety of sizes
  • Indoor/outdoor
  • Integrated paging receiver

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PDR3000/PSR3000 Paging Data Receivers

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  • Highly programmable, off-air decoders
  • Message Logging & remote control
  • Multiple I/O combinations and capabilities
  • Network monitoring and alarm reporting

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Specialized Paging Solutions

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  • Emergency Mass Alerting
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  • Fire station automation
  • PC interfacing and message management
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  • Message interception, filtering, redirection, printing & logging Cross band repeating, paging coverage infill, store and forward
  • Alarm interfaces, satellite linking, IP transmitters, on-site systems

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Mobile Data Terminals & Two Way Wireless  Solutions

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  • CDMA, GPRS, ReFLEX, conventional, and trunked radio interfaces

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WiPath Communications LLC
4845 Dumbbarton Court
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4845 Dumbbarton Court
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Web site: left arrow CLICK
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WiPath Communications

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Hark Technologies

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Wireless Communication Solutions

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USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

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  • Connects to Linux computer via USB
  • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
  • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
  • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
  • PURC or direct connect
  • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
  • Other mounting options available
  • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

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Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
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  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

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Other products

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Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

Hark Technologies
717 Old Trolley Rd Ste 6 #163
Summerville, SC 29485
Tel: 843-821-6888
Fax: 843-821-6894
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hark David George and Bill Noyes
of Hark Technologies.

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Click on the logo above for more info.

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From:Jerry Griffith
Subject: Some Interesting Photos
Date:Sunday, July 13, 2014 10:06 AM
To:Brad Dye

Good morning, Brad

I have attached some interesting photos of the Florida Citrus Tower and a system being deployed all over the Orlando area.

The Citrus Tower is one beautiful communications site, and has an observation area up top — the elevator ride up there is $6.00 and has a very small museum there as well.

I have observed quite a number of new, white monopoles being installed. Watched from afar as a crew made the connections to many transmission lines to a number of panel-type arrays, then put a white "radome" over them and installed an American flag on top.

All of these monopoles have either a ball-type lightning "rod", or a disk-shaped one on top. All look like they are painted gold. Anyone know what we have here?

Jerry Griffith


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From: Enrique Llaca
Subject:  Saludos
Date: July 24, 2014 at 4:41:36 PM CDT
To:Brad Dye

Hola Brad.

Ve esta pagina, es una alerta sísmica que ofrecen aquí por $800.00 pesos sin renta mensual.

[Look at this page, it's an earthquake alerting device that they are offering here in Mexico for $800.00 pesos without a recurring monthly fee.] left arrow

Saludos Cordiales,

Enrique LLaca
LLacom, S.A. de C.V.
Aniceto Ortega No. 817 Colonia del Valle
Delegación Benito Juárez
México D.F. 03100
Teléfono: (011 52 55) 53606940
Móvil: 0445512918598

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The Wireless Messaging News

Best regards,
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Newsletter Editor

Brad Dye
P.O. Box 266
Fairfield, IL 62837 USA

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Skype: braddye
Twitter: @BradDye1
Telephone: 618-599-7869
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