AT&T forges pact with Bell Atlantic on cellular service

June 09, 1993|By Gary Rosenzweig | Gary Rosenzweig,Staff Writer

Bell Atlantic Mobile has reached an agreement with AT&T Network Systems under which AT&T will provide the Washington calling area with equipment to expand Bell Atlantic Mobile's cellular services so computers can communicate without phone lines, wires or cables.

Bell Atlantic Mobile is among cellular companies that hope to provide the first system to allow computers to communicate over cellular phones through a standardized system. Bell Atlantic's system would carry data over a cellular network using the Cellular Digital Packet Data standard. CDPD was developed by the major cellular companies to create a nationally compatible system.

Under the agreement, announced Monday, AT&T would also provide maintenance for the system in the Washington calling area, which Bell Atlantic Mobile plans to launch in November, said Karen Kurlander, a spokeswoman for Bell Atlantic. The company plans to provide all its service areas, including the Baltimore area, with the same capabilities by the end of 1994, she said.

Bell Atlantic Mobile, the largest cellular carrier on the East Coast, serves New England, the mid-Atlantic region, the Carolinas and some areas in the Southwest.

The Bell Atlantic cellular phone network in the Washington area, which already uses an AT&T operating system, could transmit information to link telecommunications devices, such as computers and credit card machines, said Barbara Mierisch, a spokeswoman for AT&T.

No cellular system now offers CDPD, Ms. Kurlander said.

"It's going to be a real horse race to see who is going to be the first," she said.

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