Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems, the cellular arm of Bell Atlantic Corp., said yesterday that it has placed orders for 40,000 cellular phones that can handle both analog and digital signals, making it one of the first cellular operators in the country to move ahead with dual-use phones.
The new phones are in use experimentally in a few markets but are not commercially available.
The phones are designed to switch easily between traditional analog signals and digital signals, which use a newer technology to transmit communications. The company said the ability to switch between the two signals would enable the phone system to find a digital channel, which would allow better reception and a greater number of calls to be transmitted.
Karen Ann Kurlander, a Bell Atlantic spokeswoman, said she did not know how much the new phones would cost.