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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — October 9, 2015 — Issue No. 678

Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Welcome to The Wireless Messaging News.


Please accept another reminder about the Critical Messaging Association conference coming up next month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My reservations are made, and I am already getting excited about attending this conference, seeing old friends again, and making some new ones. Please consider going to this important meeting.

I am also very interested in the topics that will be discussed:

  • Technical issues of interest to all paging operators at the Paging Technical Committee (PTC) meeting;
  • Business diversification;
  • Telco interconnect issues and the IP transition;
  • Text messaging to augment paging service;
  • Using other carriers to expand coverage area;
  • Paging encryption options;
  • Paging company valuations;
  • Updates on the recent CMA-E summit in Prague;
  • The latest technology — vendor presentations.

I hope to see you there. It's not too late to make your plans and reservations to attend.

I was having a hard time working on the newsletter today. The recent Macintosh OS upgrade to “El Capitan” made my mouse go crazy. Actually it wasn't Apple's fault. I finally found a new Logitech Control Center update for El Capitan and that fixed my mouse. (Just in case any readers are having the same problem.)

As the country folks around here say, “If it ain't one thing it's another!”

Now on to news and views.

Wayne County, Illinois

Wireless Messaging News
  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Telemetry
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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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.

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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Maybe You?  


November 5 - 6, 2015
Royale Palms Tower at the Hilton
Part of Kingston Plantation
Myrtle Beach, SC

Join CMA and come back to the beach, November 5 & 6, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This is an exceptional opportunity to meet face-to-face and make quality connections with other carriers. Several members are providing key topics of interest to small business. As promised we have kept costs minimal with registration just $300 and overnight accommodations $89/night.

Click Here to Register!

Conference Topics/Agenda:

  • The conference will begin with a Paging Technical Committee meeting on Thursday, November 5, at 1:00.
  • Immediately following the PTC meeting, educational sessions on Thursday and Friday will include discussions on:
    • Learning how a regional carrier has been growing through diversification
    • Telco’s neglect of network interconnection circuits and the IP Transition: Can it be fixed?
    • Utilizing text messaging and other apps to help augment paging service
    • How to utilize other carriers to expand your footprint without additional operating costs
    • Options when a customer requests encryption
    • Paging Company Valuations — How much is your business potentially worth?
    • Update on key topics and issues from the CMA Summit in Prague
    • Latest Technology — Vendor Showcase Presentations
  • There will be a group networking opportunity on Thursday evening and the conference will conclude by 4:30 pm on Friday, November 6.

Conference Location:

Conference Hotel (Deadline October 13)
Royale Palms Tower at the Hilton
10000 Beach Club Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

To make reservations, please call 800-876-0010 and reference the Critical Messaging Association (CMA). You may also make reservations online. If you are booking online be sure to select the Royale Palms Hotel and then indicate that you have a special code and put in CMA in the group code.

Our group rate is $89 for a one bedroom ocean-view guestroom with balcony or $149 for a 2 bedroom/2 bath ocean-view room with balcony and a full kitchen. The Royale Palms Tower consists of condo rentals and is located at the north end of Myrtle Beach in Kingston Plantation. Guests have access to all of the amenities offered throughout the Kingston Plantation. You may receive complimentary wireless access if you are (or become) a Hilton Honors member.

NOTE: You are encouraged to make your reservations immediately in order to ensure you receive the group rate as once the room block fills rooms will be sold at the normal hotel rate.

Parking: Parking is at a discounted rate of $5/car/day.

Airport: The Myrtle Beach airport is approximately 12 miles away (30 minute drive). A taxi to the hotel costs approximately $38 one way.

We hope you are able to join us at this incredible and fun learning opportunity in Myrtle Beach.

Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert
Critical Response Systems
Easy Solutions
Falcon Wireless Direct
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
STI Engineering
UltraTek Security Cameras
WaveWare Technologies

BlackBerry CEO wants to sell 5 million phones a year

The company might end its handset business if that doesn't happen

By Dan Seifert on October 8, 2015 02:12 pm

It's been a long time since BlackBerry was on top of the smartphone world, and these days, its ambitions appear to be a bit more modest than they used to. In an interview at the Code Mobile conference today, CEO John Chen told The Verge that his goal is to sell five million smartphones a year, which will be necessary to make the business profitable. If that doesn't happen, Chen hinted that BlackBerry may exit the handset business altogether, which would be a huge shift from the BlackBerry of the past.

A lot of that volume is expected to come from the upcoming BlackBerry Priv, the Android-powered slider device that Chen says will launch before the end of the year. (In its most recent financial quarter , BlackBerry sold just 800,000 phones.) The Priv runs Android and not BlackBerry's own BB10 software, but it will have the company's security technology baked in. Chen says BlackBerry's security is currently on par with Samsung's Knox, but its device will have better battery technology, better antenna technology, a physical keyboard, and other high-end specs that will make it a compelling option compared to Samsung or other devices.


Chen wouldn't commit to saying that we'll never see another BB10 device again, but he noted that the market for BB10 devices has been squarely in the high-security business, such as governments and hospitals. BlackBerry will continue to support those customers with software updates, but since they don't upgrade their devices very often, the impetus to come out with new hardware often is low.

But getting the consumers that do upgrade their phones often to buy the Priv won't be easy — it's been nearly impossible to purchase a BlackBerry device in carrier stores in the US for years now and most people just don't think of BlackBerry when they want to buy a new phone. To rectify that, Chen says he's working directly with carriers to sell the Priv and that we'll definitely see it in carrier stores when it launches. He notes that the carriers are excited to offer the device, since their staff already knows Android and can help customers with it.

Five million phones a year is a drop in the bucket for a company such as Samsung or Apple, but for BlackBerry, it's a number that is attainable and necessary to turn around its flailing handset business. And if it doesn't happen with the Priv, well, we just might not see another BlackBerry smartphone again.

Source: The Verge

Falcon Wireless Direct


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Increasing emergency communications systems awareness:
7 steps to enhance enrollment via social media

Sep 29, 2015
by American City & County Contributor in Viewpoints
By Phil Conradt

Public alerting systems provide critical information and help emergency management coordinate evacuation of storm-impacted areas. These community-wide, interoperable mass notification systems are critical to the success of disaster response efforts — providing a centralized method to keep the public informed before, during and after a storm or other event. These systems also inform residents of bus or other evacuation schedules, shelter details, insurance information, as well as the resumption of school, business and other services.

Increasing public awareness and enrollment in the notification systems, so all local residents receive alerts and emergency messages, is essential to supporting evacuation efforts in an emergency. In order for these systems to be effective, it is critical to increase the subscriber base in advance of an emergency. Now is the time to get residents prepared and made aware of local resources.

To help increase subscriber enrollment, it is important to:

  • Brand it — The local system should have a name, brand and profile that is easily recognized and remembered.
  • Customize information delivery for residents — Typically, emergency communications systems use multiple platforms (text, email, phone, social media, etc.) to inform residents of local emergencies; these systems need to be coordinated and deliver information in ways that are preferred by individual subscribers.
  • Create a short code — Subscribers can quickly sign up via text (i.e. ALERT to 411911), which is an easy way to promote the lo
    Beyond these basic steps, social media can help dramatically extend the reach of regional emergency notification systems. Key tips to increase awareness through social media include:

Create a calendar to provide regular, useful content — Start using social media before the next disaster hits. Create a content calendar with tips to help residents prepare for emergencies. For example, remind your followers to update emergency preparedness kit with flashlights, batteries and water well in advance of seasonal storms.

Enhance engagement with multimedia — Pictures, images, video and other graphics can help advance visibility through Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Use these to help residents “see” what’s happening and follow evacuation instructions.

Interact with your followers — Invite residents to post images and respond with disaster preparedness stories or examples, this will not only increase engagement and build personal relationships, but will also enhance your channel visibility beyond your follower base.

Link to other vetted sources of information — Local news stations and newspapers, national weather service and other local and national organizations also provide important and timely information – link to these sources or provide feeds through your system to better establish yourself as a credible source of breaking news.

Keep information brief — Maintain succinct updates and statuses to avoid losing the attention of your followers. Establish repetitive phrases and calls to action to enhance brand identity.

Spread the word at community events — From farmer’s markets to local concerts and other events, increase awareness of public alerting systems in the community through association with social media campaigns to promote the events as well as at the event itself.

Connect with local businesses, organizations and schools — Large employers, local business associations, colleges, schools and other organizations can help extend the reach of the program by including a link to the public alerting system on their websites, intranet sites, message boards and other resources.

With more than 10 years of industry experience, Phil Conradt, product manager for Eaton, is responsible for new product introductions and managing stakeholders for Eaton’s ALERiTY mass notification platform.

Source: American City & County

Prism Paging

white stripe


white stripe


  • 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

Product Support Services, Inc.

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.

American Messaging


American Messaging


WaveWare Technologies

2630 National Dr., Garland, TX 75041

Now stocking the full line of Daviscomms paging products

New Products

SPS-5v9E Paging System

  • 1 Serial Port Connection
  • 2 Ethernet Connections
  • Browser and Serial Port Configuration
  • TAP, COMP2, Scope, WaveWare SNPP, COMP2, & PET Protocols
  • 2W, 5W Option

DMG Protocol Converter

  • Linux Based Embedded System
  • Up to 4 Serial Port Connections
  • Ethernet Connections
  • Browser Configuration
  • Protocol Conversion
  • Additional Protocols Available Soon

WaveWare Technologies

Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Contracts for Glenayre and other Systems starting at $100
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or e-mail us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119

Easy Solutions

Critical Response Systems

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.


Leavitt Communications


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

Can your smartphone replace your doctor?

Arjun Kharpal | @ArjunKharpal
October 9, 2015

Ever been concerned about a spot on your arm, not knowing whether it's dangerous or not, and wishing you could find out instantly? Well, there's an app for that and other tasks that have traditionally fallen to doctors.

Smartphones have penetrated the medical world and are beginning to be embraced by the profession. New apps are popping up which can diagnose patients and even allow you to speak to a doctor on demand.

Dutch start-up Skin Vision is one such company that allows you to use a Samsung handset or iPhone to take a picture of your skin, upload it to a database, then get instant answers about whether you have skin cancer or not. This year, the company recently raised 3 million euros ($3.4 million). Dick Uyttewaal, chief executive of the company said the push towards medical technology or medtech, stems from the lack of experts in some areas.

"There are not enough dermatologists to monitor these customers. From that perspective and the fact that technology is more accepted we see a clear value for skin cancer technology use," Uyttewaal told CNBC in a phone interview.

According to the CEO, as more and more pictures are uploaded, the database online will become smarter and be able to diagnose skin conditions more accurately.

Doctor on demand

In some countries such as the U.K., there are concerns that the health system is becoming overburdened. And in some emerging markets, expertise on complex diseases isn't always available.

This is where an app like Dr Now comes in, according to its founder. Dr Now allows you to speak to a doctor on demand over a video call on your smartphone. Users can pay £4.99 ($7.62) per month to have unlimited access to qualified doctors or pay £29 per consultation.

"A large proportion of people that go to the GP are the worried well. If you can find a way to stratify the likely requirements of physician time depending on the ailment, you are freeing up the capacity of GPs for people that really need them," Savvas Neophytou, co-founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, told CNBC.

"Given the fact that we are in an aging society, we need more GPs and we just can't train them fast enough."

End to visits to the doctor’s?

The medtech space is booming. The total value of the global medtech market is expected to reach $477.5 billion by 2020, growing at an annual rate of 4.1 percent over the next five years, according to market research firm Evaluate.

One of the potential stumbling blocks could be the regulatory landscape. But both Uyttewaal and Neophytou said that regulators are embracing their technologies. Skin Vision has a European Union-wide approval that denotes its app as safe, while Neophytou stressed that doctors on his platform are vetted stringently and ideally trained to U.K. standards.

So what does this proliferation of medtech mean for the medical profession? Is it an end to visits to the doctor's? Not quite, the app makers say.

"No smartphone or no machine is going to replace the knowledge and skill of a good physician," Neophytou said.

"The tech will do more in complimenting rather than replacing them," Uyttewaal added.

Source: CNBC

STI Engineering

sti header

250W VHF Paging Transmitter

STI Engineering’s RFI-148 250 high performance paging transmitter features true DDS frequency generation that enables precise control and flexibility for a wide range of data transmission applications.

The transmitter is particularly suitable for large simulcast POCSAG and FLEX paging networks and can be used as drop-in replacement of older and obsolete transmitters. The unit has a proven track record in large scale critical messaging systems.

sti tx
  • High power output
    (selectable from 20 W - 250 W)
  • SNMP Diagnostics and alarms
  • Full VHF Band coverage
    (138-174 MHz)
  • DSP precision modulation
  • Integrated isolator
  • Sniffer port for in-rack receiver
  • Remote firmware upgrade capability
  • Software selectable frequency offset
  • Adjustable absolute delay correction
  • Front panel diagnostics
  • Hardware alarm outputs
  • High frequency stability
  • External reference option
  • FCC and ACMA approved
  • CE compliant version in development
sti22 Boulder Road Malaga 6090 Western Australia
Telephone:  +61 8 9209 0900
Facsimile:  +61 8 9248 2833

Leavitt Communications

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 250s, 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

Dale County agrees to finance costly emergency communications upgrade

Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2015 5:18 pm
Greg Phillips
News reporter

The Dale County Commission recently voted to sign and finance a $694,500 contract with Motorola to upgrade its emergency communication system for first responders.

The commission unanimously approved the contract, which includes support from Troy University through the usage of university-owned towers throughout the area.

The commission and Sheriff Wally Olsen have been discussing upgrading the county’s out-of-date analog radios for months now. Chairman Mark Blankenship said the commission opted to go with a “total package” that will allow first responders to communicate with outside organizations around the state.

“Troy came on board with us, and they have towers that range from Troy University in Troy all the way down to Dothan,” Blankenship said. “We were able to put some repeaters on those existing towers, which reduced costs and saved us some money, and they plan on maintaining those as well.”

Blankenship said the system will tie in with Baldwin County, making agencies able to talk from Mobile to north Alabama.

The county purchased about 75 radios, he said, and has agreed to set up infrastructure for the system at four sites: one in Troy, one in Ozark, one near Ariton and one near Wicksburg.

“In that (legislation) are some other things where we have to do some fiber connections and some warranty work and upgrades,” Blankenship said.

He said the system will help first responders get on the same page, and more agencies will be joining it in the coming years.

“As time goes on, we hope to be able to bring volunteer fire, EMS and smaller municipalities on with us,” Blankenship said. “We will establish a charge, because we have to pay so much to go on the system. (Agencies) will have to buy their radios, which we think we’ll be able to get them a good price because of this contract. They will pay a charge per radio, which will help offset the cost of putting them on the system.”

The county is financing the upgrade for eight years through Commercial Bank of Ozark.

Pending legislation county leaders hope will pass in the next legislative session will establish a process serving fee in the county, almost identical to recently passed fees for Houston County.

Blankenship said the money collected by these fees, should the legislation pass as expected, will fund the radio upgrades.

The system should be up and running in early 2016.

Source: Dothan Eagle

Hark Technologies

hark logo

Wireless Communication Solutions

USB Paging Encoder

paging encoder

  • Single channel up to eight zones
  • 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)

Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


  • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
  • USB or RS-232 interface
  • Two contact closures
  • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
  • 16 capcodes
  • Eight contact closure version also available
  • Product customization available

Other products

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
E-mail: left arrow CLICK
Web: left arrow CLICK

Hark Technologies

Preferred Wireless

preferred logo

Terminals & Controllers:
4ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares
3CNET Platinum Controllers
2GL3100 RF Director
1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis — Configurable
1GL3000 L — 2 Cabinets, complete working, w/spares
35SkyData 8466 B Receivers
1Unipage — Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
10Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers
15Glenayre Complete GPS Kits
1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
Link Transmitters:
6Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
1Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
VHF Paging Transmitters:
19Motorola Nucleus 125W CNET
6Motorola Nucleus 350W CNET
11Motorola Nucleus 350W NAC
14Motorola Nucleus 125W NAC
1Glenayre QT7505
1Glenayre QT8505
3Glenayre QT-100C
UHF Paging Transmitters:
16Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
4Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W
 Nucleus Power Supplies
 Nucleus NIU, Matched Pairs
 Nucleus GPS Reference Modules
 Nucleus GPS Receivers
 Nucleus Chassis
 Glenayre 8500, PAs, PSs, DSP Exciters
 Glenayre VHF DSP Exciters


Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

Rick McMichael
Preferred Wireless, Inc.
Telephone: 888-429-4171
(If you are calling from outside of the USA, please use: 314-575-8425) left arrow

Preferred Wireless


Critical Alert

spacer cas logo

Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

Formed in 2010, CAS brought together the resources and capabilities of two leading critical messaging solutions providers, UCOM™ and Teletouch™ Paging, along with lntego Systems™, a pioneer in next-generation nurse call systems. The result was an organization that represented more than 40 years of combined experience serving hospitals and healthcare providers.

CAS was created to be a single-source provider for hospitals and healthcare facilities in need of advanced nurse call and communications technologies.

Unlike our competitors, our product development process embraced the power of software from its inception. This enables us to design hardware-agnostic solutions focused on built-in integration, flexibility and advanced performance.


Nurse Call Solutions

Innovation in Nurse Call

Innovative, software-based nurse call solutions for acute and long-term care organizations.


Paging Solutions

The Most Reliable Paging Network

To this day, for critical messaging, nothing beats paging. It’s simply the best way to deliver a critical message.



© Copyright 2015 - Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

AT&T launches Wi-Fi calling for Apple iPhones with iOS 9

AT&T customers with the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, as well as last year's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, can now make calls over Wi-Fi.

October 8, 2015 — 12:25 PM PDT
by Lynn La

AT&T has finally rolled out its native Wi-Fi calling feature on certain smartphones, after the Federal Communications Commission granted the wireless carrier's waiver request for the feature.

Starting today, AT&T customers with the latest phones, the Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, as well as those with last year's models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, can make and receive calls using a Wi-Fi network as long as the handsets are also running Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 9.

Wi-Fi calling can be useful whenever users find themselves in an area with weak or no carrier coverage. By using a local Wi-Fi network, such as the one set up at your house or available in a public space like a cafe or library, you can still make calls without a cellular connection. And because the feature is baked into the devices themselves, you and the person you are calling won't have to download a third-party app or service.

Out of the four major US carriers, AT&T is now the third to roll out Wi-Fi calling, following T-Mobile and Sprint . AT&T had hoped to launch the Wi-Fi calling feature last month when Apple first released iOS 9. Last week, the carrier accused the FCC of dragging its feet on approving the waiver it needed to offer the feature. The FCC, which denied the claim that it was slow to OK the request, granted the waiver Tuesday.

In addition to T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T, there are a number of Wi-Fi only carriers that default to Wi-Fi first before connecting to a cellular network. These include Republic Wireless , Scratch Wireless, as well as Google's nascent Project Fi , which launched in April and is compatible with the Google Nexus 6P, 5X and 6 .

For more about Wi-Fi calling, read CNET's deep dive here. And check out how to turn on Wi-Fi calling on iOS 9 devices here.

Source: c|net

BloostonLaw Newsletter

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.

BloostonLaw Telecom UpdateVol. 18, No. 39October 7, 2015

FCC Reminds Providers to File a Complete and Accurate Form 477 Every Six Months

The Enforcement Bureau has released a reminder that providers of voice and broadband Internet services must file timely, complete, and accurate FCC Form 477 reports twice each year, by March 1 (reporting data collected as of December 31 of the previous year), and September 1 (reporting data collected as of June 30 of the current year).

Please see the article in this week’s edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update for more information.


FCC Reminds Providers to File a Complete and Accurate Form 477 Every Six Months

The Enforcement Bureau has released a reminder that providers of voice and broadband Internet services must file timely, complete, and accurate FCC Form 477 reports twice each year, by March 1 (reporting data collected as of December 31 of the previous year), and September 1 (reporting data collected as of June 30 of the current year). According to the Bureau, the data reported on Form 477 "is used by the Commission to assess and promote nationwide broadband deployment, to appropriately target universal service funds, to ensure access to emergency communications in disaster scenarios, and to help meet other public service goals." In rural and underserved areas, data from providers is used to assess local competition and broadband availability.

The Bureau lists the following entities that are required to file Form 477:

  • Common carriers and their affiliates providing telephone exchange or exchange access service;
  • Facilities-based Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers offering mobile phone service;
  • Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers;
  • Facilities-based broadband Internet service providers (including, but not limited to Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs)).

The Bureau reminds entities that Form 477 filing requirements apply to providers regardless of size.

The Bureau also states that it is prepared to take enforcement action against providers who violate this reporting requirement. The Bureau states that "Providers, including WISPs and other rural entities, are on notice that failure to timely file Form 477 reports may result in enforcement action, including monetary penalties."

FCC Form 477 must be submitted electronically through the FCC website. For additional information about Form 477, please contact the firm.

Associations Propose Processes for Implementing Model-Based Support for Rural Carriers

ITTA, NTCA, USTelecom and WTA (the Associations) filed an ex parte letter on October 2, 2015, proposing consensus recommendations for allocating Connect America Fund (CAF) reserve dollars for rate of return (ROR) carriers voluntarily electing the model-based plan for universal service support. (Docket No10-90) The ex parte letter can be found here. According to the Associations, the proposal would allocate reserve dollars based on: (a) the amount of model-based support received by each electing company; and (b) study areas with the lowest current build out percentages of 10/1 service. Companies with a current build-out percentage of greater than 85% would be precluded from receiving CAF reserve dollars in accordance with the Commission's objectives of directing funding to study areas with the lowest current build out percentages.

The ex parte letter also revised the proposed build-out milestones, including proposed non-compliance measures, for ROR carriers electing model-based support. Under the proposal, carriers would have no specific build-out milestone requirement during years 1-4 (although they would be expected to be extending and upgrading their networks during this time). At year 5, carriers would be required to have extended service to 50% of the additional locations they were required to serve as a condition of receiving model-based support. This milestone would increase 10 percentage points a year during each of the following years until it reached 100% of the required additional locations in Year 10.

CTIA and Wireless Industry Update Measures to Curb Smartphone Theft and Protect Personal Data

CTIA and a group of participating wireless carriers and device manufacturers last Friday announced an update to the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment to encourage industry-wide adoption of anti-theft measures that will be made available on all smartphones by July of 2016. This latest effort to deter smartphone theft and protect personal data comes in response to a request from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to update the Commitment.

According to CTIA, the Commitment promotes the widest possible adoption of anti-theft tools while respecting the importance of consumer choice and privacy. In addition, the industry has developed a list of apps to locate, erase and/or lock, many of which are free, for the various operating systems, and a video with step-by-step video instructions on how to set up a PIN/password on various mobile devices. Clients with wireless operations may want to include links to these CTIA resources on their own web sites as a resource for their own customers.

“Today's announcement of the new Commitment is the latest example of how America's wireless industry takes on tough issues and works together to develop the best solutions for their customers that balances the needs of users while still providing the flexibility for companies to innovate,” said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker.

Terms of the voluntary Commitment are as follows:

Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment

Part I

Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" agrees that:

  1. New models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:
    1. Remote wipe the authorized user's data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, e-mails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
    2. Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., “phone home”).
    3. Prevent reactivation without authorized user's permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
    4. Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).
  2. In order to be effective, the anti-theft tools need to be widely adopted while still respecting the importance of consumer choices and privacy. New models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2016 for retail sale in the United States will, if technically necessary, make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user's possession.

In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.

Part II

Each network operator signatory of Part II to the "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" commits to permit the availability and full usability of a baseline anti-theft tool to be preloaded or downloadable on smartphones as specified in this commitment.

These voluntary measures appear to be working since reports of smartphone thefts are on the decline in cities across the country. According to CTIA, there has been a more than 20 percent increase in PIN and password usage by consumers to proactively protect their personal information and their mobile devices in case of theft.

FCC Chairman Wheeler applauded the industry efforts in a written statement, and said the FCC would remain vigilant in this area by pushing for further improvements to the theft-prevention toolbox, and by monitoring closely whether the efforts of industry and others are producing meaningful results.

In related news, last week the FCC and the Ministry of Information and Technology of Columbia (a country that has become a hub for the stolen cell phone market) announced they had entered a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at curbing wireless device theft. The joint MOU states both the U.S. and Colombia will continue to work with mobile device and service providers to block activation of stolen devices and actively work to reduce theft of stolen devices.

The following network operators, device manufacturers and operating system companies are participating in the voluntary commitment: Apple Inc.; Assurant; Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; Google Inc.; HTC America Inc.; Huawei Device USA, Inc.; LGE Mobile Research U. S. A., LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Motorola Mobility LLC; Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon and ZTE USA Inc.

Dish DEs Elect to “Selectively Default” on AWS-3 Licenses

The other shoe has fallen on DISH Network Corporation and the “DEs” that it used to bid in the AWS-3 (Auction 97) auction that finished earlier this year. The FCC on October 1st issued letters providing notice to Northstar Wireless LLC (Northstar) and SNR Wireless LIcenseCo, LLC (SNR) of their interim default payment obligations arising from Auction 97. Copies of these letters can be found here (Northstar) and here (SNR).

The FCC letters, and related letters that counsel for Northstar and SNR filed with the FCC also on October 1st, indicate that the DISH DEs have each elected not to pay any additional money to the FCC as a result of being found ineligible for “small business” status. Instead, each has elected to use the monies they had already paid the FCC for their winning bids and to “selectively default” on some of the licenses that it won. Selective default (electing to keep certain licenses that are paid in full while being “let off the hook” for payment obligations associated with returned licenses) is a controversial remedy that the FCC has allowed previous auction winners to use when faced with a potential default. The Dish DEs each escape a significant additional payment obligation associated with the loss of their claimed small business status, but they don’t get all the licenses they won, and they are required to make a “default” payment based on the licenses they return. The fact that the FCC’s interim default letters were already drafted and released on the very same day that the DISH DEs each filed their selective default letters suggests that the election was no surprise to the Commission’s staff, and instead was a carefully scripted arrangement.

Northstar has already paid the FCC approximately $5.9 billion. The difference between Northstar’s gross winning bids and net winning bids in the AWS-3 auction is $1.96 billion. Similarly, SNR has paid the FCC approximately $4.1 billion. The difference between SNR’s gross winning bids and net winning bids in the AWS-3 auction is $1.37 billion.

Pursuant to the Commission’s auction rules, and based on the election made in its Selective Default Letter, Northstar owes the FCC an interim default payment of $333,919,350, which is fifteen percent (15%) of the aggregate amount of all gross winning bids for the licenses it is returning to the FCC. SNR has similar default obligations and owes the FCC an interim default payment of $181,635,840. In addition to these payments, both of the DISH DEs will be obligated to pay the FCC, with respect to each license returned, the difference between the amount of its bid and the amount of the winning bid for the license in the FCC re-auction of AWS-3 spectrum, when that takes place in the future. The FCC has required DISH to act as guarantor in favor of the FCC with respect to these potential future payment obligations.

An analyst from Jeffries & Company has suggested that the strategic return of AWS-3 spectrum may suggest a potential deal between DISH and Verizon, because most of the licenses returned to the FCC are adjacent to AWS-1 spectrum blocks owned by AT&T and T-Mobile.

“It is possible that the selected licenses were chosen in such a fashion as to not impact a potential future sale of the portfolio to Verizon,” said Jeffries analyst Mike McCormack in a research report.

FCC Grants AT&T Request for Waiver of TTY Rules for Wi-Fi Calling

On October 6, the FCC granted the petition for waiver filed by AT&T, in which the company asked for a waiver of the FCC’s requirement to support text telephony (TTY) technology on wireless networks to the extent that they use Internet Protocol (IP) technologies. This waiver expires December 31, 2017, or upon the effective date of rules providing for alternative IP-based wireless accessibility solutions, whichever is earlier.

On June 12, 2015, AT&T filed a petition requesting that the Commission initiate a rulemaking proceeding to authorize the substitution of a newer form of text communication, real-time text (RTT), as an alternative accessibility solution to TTY technology for use in the IP-based environment. AT&T simultaneously filed a petition requesting that the Commission temporarily waive the Commission’s requirements to support TTY technology for wireless devices and services on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks “during the pendency of the rulemaking and until RTT is fully deployed to allow [AT&T] to offer VoIP services that do not reliably support TTY.”

In granting the waiver, the FCC found that there “are major technical barriers to reliably supporting TTY transmissions over IP networks,” and that “overall use of TTYs has declined greatly, and that TTYs are seldom used on wireless networks.” As a condition of the waiver, the FCC is requiring AT&T to apprise its customers, through effective and accessible channels of communication, including via AT&T’s website, billing statements, promotional materials, communications with national consumer organizations, and other effective means of communications, that (1) TTY technology will not be supported for calls to 911 services over IP-based wireless services; and (2) there are alternative PSTN- based and IP-based accessibility solutions for people with communication disabilities for such calls. As part of meeting clause (2) of this condition, to the extent that AT&T begins to make RTT available, it must ensure that all 911 calls made by persons seeking emergency assistance using this technology are delivered in accordance with the obligations of all telecommunications carriers, including wireless carriers, to transmit 911 calls to the appropriate PSAP or local emergency authority. Additionally, once every six months, AT&T will file a report with the Commission, and also inform its customers, through the same channels set forth above, regarding its progress toward and the status of the availability of new IP-based accessibility solutions.

Law & Regulation

Comments on Totality of the Circumstances Test Due December 1

On October 2, the FCC published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the “totality of the circumstances” test for evaluating whether broadcast stations and multichannel video programming distributors are negotiating for retransmission consent in good faith. Comments are due December 1, 2015, and reply comments are due December 31.

In the NPRM, the FCC seeks comment on whether it should make any updates to the “totality of the circumstances” test itself to ensure that the conduct of broadcasters and MVPDs during negotiations for retransmission consent, and after such negotiations have broken down, meet the good faith standard. The FCC also seeks comment on whether there are specific practices that it should identify as evidencing bad faith under the totality of the circumstances test.

RUS Seeks Comment on New Equipment Contract Process

On October 1, the Rural Utilities Service published a request for comments in the Federal Register regarding the streamlining of its contractual process for equipment procurement. Comments are due November 30.

Specifically, RUS is seeking to replace type-specific Equipment Contracts, RUS Forms 397, 398, 525, 545, and the associated documents (Forms 231, 396, 396a, 397b, 397c, 397d, 397f, 397g, 397h, 517, 525a, 744, 752a, 754, and addenda) with a new, unified Equipment Contract, RUS Form 395, and the associated close-out documents (Forms 395a, 395b, 395c and 395d).

FCC Issues Tentative Agenda for October 22 Open Meeting

On October 1, the FCC issued the tentative agenda for its October 22, 2015 Open Meeting. At the meeting, the FCC will consider:

  • a Report and Order and Third FNPRM on reforming intrastate, interstate and international inmate calling services to ensure just, reasonable and fair ICS rates;an NPRM on streamlining the foreign ownership review process for broadcast licensees and applicants, and standardizing the review process for broadcast, common carrier and aeronautical licensees and applicants; and
  • an NPRM on new flexible use service rules in certain bands above 24 GHz to support multiple uses, including mobile wireless.

Senate Commerce Holds Hearing on Wireless Broadband Deployment

Earlier today, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing Oct. 7 on how to help pave the way for more wireless broadband. Witnesses included: Douglas Kinkoph, Associate Administrator at the Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; The Honorable Jonathan Adelstein, President & CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association; The Honorable Gary Resnick, Mayor of Wilton Manors; Mr. Cory Reed, Senior Vice President of Intelligent Solutions at Deere & Company; and Mr. Bruce Morrison, Vice President of Operations and Network Build for the North America region at Ericsson.

Full testimony for each of the witnesses can be found here .


Experian Discloses Massive Data Breach of T-Mobile Customers

On October 1, Experian Plc (Experian), one of the world’s leading consumer credit monitoring firms, announced a data breach that exposed the data of approximately 15 million individuals who had applied for wireless service from T-Mobile.

According to Experian, it discovered the breach on September 15. The data reportedly included names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and passport numbers.

In a statement, T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said, “Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian,” T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said in a note to customers posted on the company's website. “But right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected.”

The attorney general of Connecticut has announced that he will launch an investigation into the breach.


OCTOBER 15: INITIAL 911 RELIABILITY CERTIFICATION . The Commission’s rules require Covered 911 Service Providers to take “reasonable measures” to provide reliable service with respect to 911 circuit diversity, central office backup power, and diverse network monitoring, as evidenced by an annual certification of compliance with specified best practices or reasonable alternative measures. The Initial Reliability Certification requires covered providers to demonstrate “substantial progress” toward meeting the requirements of the full Annual Reliability Certification, which is defined as compliance with standards of the full certification in at least 50 percent of the Covered 911 Service Provider’s critical 911 circuits, central offices that directly serve public safety answering points (PSAPs), and independently monitored 911 service areas.

OCTOBER 26: COMMENTS DUE ON SECTION 214 DISCONTINUANCE CRITERIA AND PROCESS. The FCC is seeking comments on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) which asks whether the Commission should revise its rules concerning the 214 application process and proposes specific criteria for use in evaluating applications to discontinue retail services pursuant to section 214 of the Act.

OCTOBER 29: COMMENTS DUE ON APPLICABLITY OF TELEMARKETING RULES TO GOVERNMENTS. A petition for declaratory ruling (CG Docket No. 02-278) asks the FCC to find that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Commission’s implementing rules do not apply to calls made by or on behalf of federal, state, and local governments, including calls made by legislative, judicial, and executive bodies, and those who act on behalf of such government entities, when such calls are made for official purposes. BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy and Mary Sisak.

NOVEMBER 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

Calendar At-A-Glance

Oct. 15 – 911 Reliability Certification.
Oct. 26 – Comments on Section 214 Discontinuance Criteria and Process.
Oct. 29 – Comments on Applicability of Telemarketing Rules to Government Calls
Oct. 30 – PRA Comments on the 2015 Lifeline Second Reform Order are due.

Nov. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Nov. 13 – Reply Comments on Applicability of Telemarketing Rules to Government Calls
Nov. 24 – Reply Comments on Section 214 Discontinuance Criteria and Process.
Nov. 30 – Comments are due on RUS New Equipment Contract process.

Dec. 1 – Comments are due on the “Totality of the Circumstances” test.
Dec. 20 – Form 323 (Biennial Ownership Report) is due.
Dec. 31 – Reply comments are due on the “Totality of the Circumstances” test.

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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Facebook Messenger Launches on Apple Watch


You can now send and receive Facebook Messenger voice clips, Likes, and stickers right from your wrist.

Ever feel out of touch with your Facebook messages? Now you can keep them close at hand on your Apple Watch.

Facebook on Thursday updated its Messenger app for iOS with support for Apple's wearable. Just be sure your watch is running the latest version of Cupertino's software — watchOS2 — and you'll be able to use Messenger on it to send and receive voice clips, Likes, and stickers, Facebook said.

Though Facebook just released the new functionality, users already appear to be happy with it. “Five stars for one of the first useful, working and usable 3rd party Watch apps,” one user wrote in their App Store review. “Makes using FB Messenger so much more convenient.”

Besides the new Apple Watch integration, the latest version of Facebook Messenger for iOS (version 38.0) also lets you find Messenger contacts and conversations right from your iPhone's search screen. You'll also now be able to access Messenger from the list of multi-tasking apps on your iPad. Both of these features require iOS 9.

Meanwhile, if you don't yet have an Apple Watch, you'll soon be able to pick one up at your local Target. Cupertino's wearable went on sale last week at certain Target locations and will arrive in all stores by Oct. 25. Or, if you have some serious cash to burn, you can now pick up the Apple Watch Hermes, which is now available in a number of different style and size combos starting at $1,100.

Source: PC Mag


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