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Thread: Need to inventory iDEN Radios... need some infomation

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    Actually SoCo's long term plans is to migrate to TETRA by 2015/2016. Several utilities in Georgia are already deploying TETRA networks on the UHF (450-470MHz) band right now (Cobb EMC is one in Metro Atlanta). TETRA is very similar in structure to iDEN except it is an ETSI standard, recently approved for use in the USA. SoCo knows the writing is on the wall, they first deployed iDEN on their existing 800MHz Motorola type II analog trunking channels back in 1994, back then analog trunking was king but it had severe capacity limitations.

    They can easily sell their 800MHz ESMR licenses to recoup some of the costs, they already have the needed UHF part 90 licenses to construct their TETRA network, and at a board of directors meeting in 2012 it was approved and a project manager assigned. UHF requires fewer sites, and is free from any interference issues with public safety (around here public safety abandoned UHF channels for 700/800MHz years ago), and can get greater coverage with fewer sites.

    So, to the OP who is sitting on the iDEN antiques, sell them while you can as fast as you can. You may have to go international with it, iDEN is still heavily used in central and South America, and in Israel (MIRS). Motorola Solutions (not Mobility) provides support for iDEN products, and word on the street is they will be ending support for all of it within the next 24 months. iDEN is going the way of their past LMR trunking systems like Privacy Plus, Smartnet, Startsite, etc.

    They are being replaced with TETRA (large scale) and MotoTRBO (smaller scale) LMR technologies.
    SouthernLINC has stated they have plans of eventually evolving their ESMR network from iDEN to LTE though. Is this TETRA something new past their LTE thoughts? Their CEO has made comments on keeping alive 2018+... Though with them only have around 150,000 I can see how it would be cheaper to just let their contracts end and allow them to move elsewhere and focus the network back to just utilities.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireless Junkie View Post
    SouthernLINC has stated they have plans of eventually evolving their ESMR network from iDEN to LTE though. Is this TETRA something new past their LTE thoughts? Their CEO has made comments on keeping alive 2018+... Though with them only have around 150,000 I can see how it would be cheaper to just let their contracts end and allow them to move elsewhere and focus the network back to just utilities.
    Not really, while their CEO may want LTE, the reality is TETRA is more suited to their existing spectrum licenses, and consistent with their needs as a utility. LTE is expensive to operate, and their primary purpose for operating Southern LINC is to be their primary voice and data dispatch system. It has to be robust, fault tolerant, and AFFORDABLE enough to operate. TETRA is a worldwide ETSI standard to LMR what LTE is to cellular. They are entirely different products, and the comments SoCo's CEO made a while back clearly indicate (as do many people who aren't familiar with LMR/ESMR) her has no real idea what his worker's needs are when it comes to wireless communications.

    Their competitors (in the electric utility business, which is after all, Southern Company's primary business) are moving to TETRA, it only makes sense that this is the direction they move to, not just from a business perspective, but from an emergency response perspective for network interoperability:

    http://urgentcomm.com/tetra/hytera-c...-something-big

    LMR is way more cost effective than any LTE or cellular system can ever be- look at that- only 4 sites needed to cover a large metro area with street level portable coverage. The cost to run such a system is pennies compared to an LTE network, and trust me when I tell you their CEO also has to answer to a board of directors who are all about saving money and avoiding a huge capital expenditure like rolling out some bloated LTE system.

    Their CEO may want LTE but their stockholders will LOVE TETRA for the cost savings and effectiveness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    Not really, while their CEO may want LTE, the reality is TETRA is more suited to their existing spectrum licenses, and consistent with their needs as a utility. LTE is expensive to operate, and their primary purpose for operating Southern LINC is to be their primary voice and data dispatch system. It has to be robust, fault tolerant, and AFFORDABLE enough to operate. TETRA is a worldwide ETSI standard to LMR what LTE is to cellular. They are entirely different products, and the comments SoCo's CEO made a while back clearly indicate (as do many people who aren't familiar with LMR/ESMR) her has no real idea what his worker's needs are when it comes to wireless communications.

    Their competitors (in the electric utility business, which is after all, Southern Company's primary business) are moving to TETRA, it only makes sense that this is the direction they move to, not just from a business perspective, but from an emergency response perspective for network interoperability:

    http://urgentcomm.com/tetra/hytera-c...-something-big

    LMR is way more cost effective than any LTE or cellular system can ever be- look at that- only 4 sites needed to cover a large metro area with street level portable coverage. The cost to run such a system is pennies compared to an LTE network, and trust me when I tell you their CEO also has to answer to a board of directors who are all about saving money and avoiding a huge capital expenditure like rolling out some bloated LTE system.

    Their CEO may want LTE but their stockholders will LOVE TETRA for the cost savings and effectiveness.
    I see what you are saying, but they have already vested so much into their current network.. They have hundreds of operational cell sites throughout their service area, and I don't think they are about to abandon their current customers riding on LINC. It was opened mainly for the power company, but now they have gained the trust of PSAP's and businesses across the south.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireless Junkie View Post
    I see what you are saying, but they have already vested so much into their current network.. They have hundreds of operational cell sites throughout their service area, and I don't think they are about to abandon their current customers riding on LINC. It was opened mainly for the power company, but now they have gained the trust of PSAP's and businesses across the south.
    Their main revenue is from selling power, not wireless service. Their initial plan was to defray the cost of buildout and operating such a system by selling it as an ESMR, but the cost has long been recovered.

    As far as their "trust of PSAP's" I am not sure what you mean, SL tried very hard in the late 1990s to get some of us to move our primary dispatch to iDEN, but iDEN itself is NOT nor never was intended for mission critical voice users. It doesn't even meet APCO-16 standards and those who try it out found out:

    1)-it costs too much to pay everytime you key a mike
    2)-the system is like any other cellular system regards to availability
    3)-your agency is just another customer

    The city of Birmingham, AL went to SL in 1997, and after several near misses with officers in dangerous situations not having voice dispatch, the city and Jefferson county hired a consultant to analyze the cost and risk of remaining on the system for another 10 years. This was in 2002. In 2003, the findings were released and they chose to put out their own RFP to construct an APCO-25 compliant 800MHz trunking system. The contract with Motorola was signed that spring and the system went live that fall.

    At a recent IAFC convention in Atlanta I ran into one of their 911 folks who told me the city has actually saved about 2 million dollars by getting off SL, and has a more robust and reliable system, and it is also interconnected with other agencies including nearby Calhoun county for interoperability.

    While the state of Georgia still has some statewide talkgroups on SL, most state agencies in metro areas have migrated to their respective jurisdictions municipal trunked radio systems. While those radios are more expensive, they are more reliable, interoperable with other agencies, and are not charged airtime thanks to mutual aid agreements.

    SoCo knows that iDEN's future, and the future of their small user base, is destined to be someone else' customer, and I think they are totally fine with that. At the end of the day, most of them still pay a power bill, and there is an 80 percent chance that power bill is with SoCo- something that you don't have a choice with, unless you want to live in the woods or move.

    They will do what is in the best interest of their operations and their stockholders, and letting go of iDEN and replacing it with something that costs 1/10th to own and operate just makes better fiscal sense. It's a no-brainer. Keep in mind, their core user is a dispatch centric user, so TETRA would be just fine. It would mean just replacing some radios which they would have to do anyway with iDEN.

    Keep in mind to, that utilities are also being pressured by the US Department of Homeland Security to enter into mutual aid agreements, and provide emergency response to fellow EMC's and utilities affected by natural disasters. The Hytera TETRA system being implemented right here in metro Atlanta by Cobb EMC is a huge start to building a next generation voice and data system tailored for utilities- something that meets their internal needs at an affordable price.

    Trust me when I say that Mr. Fanning isn't ignoring what his fellows in the industry are doing around him regarding radio communications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    Their main revenue is from selling power, not wireless service. Their initial plan was to defray the cost of buildout and operating such a system by selling it as an ESMR, but the cost has long been recovered.

    As far as their "trust of PSAP's" I am not sure what you mean, SL tried very hard in the late 1990s to get some of us to move our primary dispatch to iDEN, but iDEN itself is NOT nor never was intended for mission critical voice users. It doesn't even meet APCO-16 standards and those who try it out found out:

    1)-it costs too much to pay everytime you key a mike
    2)-the system is like any other cellular system regards to availability
    3)-your agency is just another customer

    The city of Birmingham, AL went to SL in 1997, and after several near misses with officers in dangerous situations not having voice dispatch, the city and Jefferson county hired a consultant to analyze the cost and risk of remaining on the system for another 10 years. This was in 2002. In 2003, the findings were released and they chose to put out their own RFP to construct an APCO-25 compliant 800MHz trunking system. The contract with Motorola was signed that spring and the system went live that fall.

    At a recent IAFC convention in Atlanta I ran into one of their 911 folks who told me the city has actually saved about 2 million dollars by getting off SL, and has a more robust and reliable system, and it is also interconnected with other agencies including nearby Calhoun county for interoperability.

    While the state of Georgia still has some statewide talkgroups on SL, most state agencies in metro areas have migrated to their respective jurisdictions municipal trunked radio systems. While those radios are more expensive, they are more reliable, interoperable with other agencies, and are not charged airtime thanks to mutual aid agreements.

    SoCo knows that iDEN's future, and the future of their small user base, is destined to be someone else' customer, and I think they are totally fine with that. At the end of the day, most of them still pay a power bill, and there is an 80 percent chance that power bill is with SoCo- something that you don't have a choice with, unless you want to live in the woods or move.

    They will do what is in the best interest of their operations and their stockholders, and letting go of iDEN and replacing it with something that costs 1/10th to own and operate just makes better fiscal sense. It's a no-brainer. Keep in mind, their core user is a dispatch centric user, so TETRA would be just fine. It would mean just replacing some radios which they would have to do anyway with iDEN.

    Keep in mind to, that utilities are also being pressured by the US Department of Homeland Security to enter into mutual aid agreements, and provide emergency response to fellow EMC's and utilities affected by natural disasters. The Hytera TETRA system being implemented right here in metro Atlanta by Cobb EMC is a huge start to building a next generation voice and data system tailored for utilities- something that meets their internal needs at an affordable price.

    Trust me when I say that Mr. Fanning isn't ignoring what his fellows in the industry are doing around him regarding radio communications.
    We will see.. As of now their official stance is iDEN with a future of LTE. Until they denounce their position as a public wireless provider with intentions to move their system back to a privatized trunked radio system, I am going to continue not speculating about something that has never been announced.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireless Junkie View Post
    We will see.. As of now their official stance is iDEN with a future of LTE. Until they denounce their position as a public wireless provider with intentions to move their system back to a privatized trunked radio system, I am going to continue not speculating about something that has never been announced.
    They are already on a private trunked radio system, what do you think iDEN is/was? Fleetcall anyone?
    Cellular guys really have zero idea what is involved in our business.
    It is what I do everyday.

    Have you been to any meetings with folks from SoCo? I have. Many of them. So believe what you wish, TETRA is a big deal for utilities around the country, it is to power/light/gas companies what P25 phase 1 (and 2) is to public safety. It has taken years to become a reality. And what is happening right here in Atlanta (SoCo's hometown) will not go unnoticed. SoCo will be on someone's TETRA system, they won't have a choice, at least in Georgia, if they want to participate in interoperability exercises and be written into everyone's emergency operations plan. Whether that is their own or they get talkgroups on the upcoming EMC cooperative system will be interesting to see. SoCo would be foolish to invest in their own LTE system, if anything, they would just apply for access to the new Federal FirstNet (when it gets built out) for data, and use TETRA for their daily operations.

    LTE is very expensive to implement. And SoCo doesn't have (and will never have) a large enough subscriber base for it to be profitable. TETRA, OTOH, is cheap (compared to LTE) and tailored to their needs.

    Look around at what other large Harmony/iDEN users have done since Sprint shut Nextel down:
    Disney: moved to a MotoTRBO Connect Plus UHF system (in record time)
    Tennessee Valley Authority: migrated to P25 Phase 1 trunking, and are in the process of a state system buildout

    Note these are two large users who both had 800MHz ESMR licenses and got conned by Sprint to join the Nextel network only be left out in the cold. At no time did they ever consider some absurdity like LTE. If they want that, they can just go get on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile and pay to be a sub like everyone else. Besides everyone already carries their own phones these days.

    Just become Fanning made some comments two years ago does not mean this will be, when Sprint shut down their iDEN system, many businesses who got boned have learned a valuable lesson about depending on any cellular company for their operations critical communications. Every radio shop I know of is doing quite well and having to hire temps to handle the overdue VHF/UHF narrowband licenses, and hoards of abandoned Nextel users getting back on traditional SMR services, and with MotoTRBO, NXDN, and now TETRA in the mix- it's a great time to be in this business again.

    Don't think Fanning doesn't notice this.

    Getting back on topic, anyone sitting on iDEN anything should send it to South America, the clock is ticking.
    Though things such as combiners, multicouplers, duplexers can still be used on other 800MHz SMR systems and still have value for other users of SMR/LMR (mainly public safety and government systems, though there are still a few private 800MHz analog and digital systems on the air in various places).

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    Sprint did more than just replace with more eco-friendly cabinets... they've completely transitioned away from iDEN, focusing solely on the existing CDMA and developing LTE networks. Those cabinets are basically the remains of a dead network, I'm afraid, and a network standard that is rapidly diminishing in use due to its relative inefficiency in voice and data capacity.

    As a result, I would have to say that those cabinets are very limited in their value, as is. They may prove useful to remaining iDEN carriers in the US, such as ARINC and SouthernLinc. Failing that, they're probably more valuable as scrap at this point.

    You might be able to get some information, such as a parts list, by looking up their FCC ID numbers and seeing what forms the FCC has for these models:

    http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid/

    Left: iPhone 6+ on T-Mobile. Right: Comcast home internet connection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    ...<SNIP>Cellular guys really have zero idea what is involved in our business.
    It is what I do everyday. <SNIP>...\
    Beautifully put...

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    Perhaps you are both right:

    http://www.rrmediagroup.com/newsArti...m?news_id=9922

    This is from Mission Critical Communications, a magazine.

    Personally , if I were a Southern Power customer, I'd want an explanation as to why my power company was going into the rather expensive mobile data business...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    TGetting back on topic, anyone sitting on iDEN anything should send it to South America, the clock is ticking.
    Though things such as combiners, multicouplers, duplexers can still be used on other 800MHz SMR systems and still have value for other users of SMR/LMR (mainly public safety and government systems, though there are still a few private 800MHz analog and digital systems on the air in various places).
    I inquired about the status of the equipment whose picture I posted earlier in the thread. I was told it has been shutdown, as expected, but it is still installed. Sprint has made no effort to remove it. More rent for my church but it seems a waste. Apparently they are debating whether or not to convert the site to Sprint services or just close up shop.
    --
    I support the right to keep and arm bears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTS2000 View Post
    They are already on a private trunked radio system, what do you think iDEN is/was? Fleetcall anyone?
    Cellular guys really have zero idea what is involved in our business.
    It is what I do everyday.

    Have you been to any meetings with folks from SoCo? I have. Many of them. So believe what you wish, TETRA is a big deal for utilities around the country, it is to power/light/gas companies what P25 phase 1 (and 2) is to public safety. It has taken years to become a reality. And what is happening right here in Atlanta (SoCo's hometown) will not go unnoticed. SoCo will be on someone's TETRA system, they won't have a choice, at least in Georgia, if they want to participate in interoperability exercises and be written into everyone's emergency operations plan. Whether that is their own or they get talkgroups on the upcoming EMC cooperative system will be interesting to see. SoCo would be foolish to invest in their own LTE system, if anything, they would just apply for access to the new Federal FirstNet (when it gets built out) for data, and use TETRA for their daily operations.

    LTE is very expensive to implement. And SoCo doesn't have (and will never have) a large enough subscriber base for it to be profitable. TETRA, OTOH, is cheap (compared to LTE) and tailored to their needs.

    Look around at what other large Harmony/iDEN users have done since Sprint shut Nextel down:
    Disney: moved to a MotoTRBO Connect Plus UHF system (in record time)
    Tennessee Valley Authority: migrated to P25 Phase 1 trunking, and are in the process of a state system buildout

    Note these are two large users who both had 800MHz ESMR licenses and got conned by Sprint to join the Nextel network only be left out in the cold. At no time did they ever consider some absurdity like LTE. If they want that, they can just go get on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile and pay to be a sub like everyone else. Besides everyone already carries their own phones these days.

    Just become Fanning made some comments two years ago does not mean this will be, when Sprint shut down their iDEN system, many businesses who got boned have learned a valuable lesson about depending on any cellular company for their operations critical communications. Every radio shop I know of is doing quite well and having to hire temps to handle the overdue VHF/UHF narrowband licenses, and hoards of abandoned Nextel users getting back on traditional SMR services, and with MotoTRBO, NXDN, and now TETRA in the mix- it's a great time to be in this business again.

    Don't think Fanning doesn't notice this.

    Getting back on topic, anyone sitting on iDEN anything should send it to South America, the clock is ticking.
    Though things such as combiners, multicouplers, duplexers can still be used on other 800MHz SMR systems and still have value for other users of SMR/LMR (mainly public safety and government systems, though there are still a few private 800MHz analog and digital systems on the air in various places).
    http://southernlinc.com/pressroom/83...utilities.aspx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireless Junkie View Post
    excerpt:
    "Planning and design for the 4G LTE network is now in progress. Construction will start in 2015 and the network should be fully operational by 2018. SouthernLINC Wireless will continue to operate its iDEN network for both Southern Company affiliate customers and its regional customer base and sell nationwide services through an agreement with a mobile virtual network enabler."

    Wise of SL to keep iDEN operational until they have a proven 4G replacement. I'm not saying I know that's what SL is planning, I'm just saying that they are wise to make it clear to customers today that they are building their 4G network in parallel with keeping iDEN running, rather than "pulling a Sprint" and announcing the phase-out of their iDEN network years before they have a viable, equal-or-better alternative that is truly operational. Too bad Sprint couldn't have figured that out back in 2006...7+ years later and Sprint Direct Connect is still not as reliable nor as capable as Nextel Direct Connect was.

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