ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

Mountain Solutions lands Fort Collins PCS licenses

Anyone who’s had trouble making calls on a cellular phone might appreciate the new technology being offered by the Lakewood telecommunications company, Mountain Solutions.

The 4-year-old firm has been awarded 12 licenses by the Federal Communications Commission to begin offering Personal Communications Service, considered the next wave in wireless communications.
“PCS technology is all digital,´ said Mountain Solutions president and CEO Lynn Langford. “You get a better quality of transmission, and you get multiple other features that are also available on the PCS wireless bandwidth.”
Those features include voice mail, two-way paging, and regular phone service that can “eventually serve as a replacement to your home phone when a wireless vocal loop goes in place,” Langford said.
Mountain Solutions, which got its start providing local telephone service, is looking to the future in the form of a wireless PCS network. Because of the continuing growth of cellular phone usage (and the resulting limitation in bandwidth availability), the FCC decided in the early ’90s to reallocate a 120-megahertz spectrum for broadcast PCS.
In 1994, Mountain Solutions participated in the FCC’s
auctions for PCS licenses. The auctions “were mandated by Congress to allow small businesses into the telecommunications industry as a means to allow competition in what has historically been an industry where all the players are big businesses,” Langford said.
Mountain Solutions’ bid for the Fort Collins and Colorado Springs licenses originally came in second to a company called BDPCS. But BDPCS was unable to make payment on their licenses after the auction was over.
“The FCC had the option to either re-auction those licenses or award them to the second-highest bidder,” Langford said. The FCC opted to re-auction them rather than award them to Mountain Solutions.
“We won the Fort Collins and Colorado Springs licenses at the re-auction,” Langford said, “but it ended up costing us $2.5 million more to do that.
“In the re-auction, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs came out to be $24 million because of the higher bidding that was involved,” she added. “So in total we have 12 licenses that will cost $48 million.”
Mountain Solutions has filed a complaint with the FCC asking for a reconsideration of their decision to re-auction the bids rather than award them to the second-place bidder.
“It’s kind of contrary
(to the spirit of the Telecommunications Act) to ask small business to participate in an auction and make them pay more money for it when they could have simply awarded it to the second-highest bidder,” Langford said. “We’d like to see them credit us for the difference of what we had to pay between the original auction and the re-auction.”
Mountain Solutions won 12 PCS licenses, four in Colorado, three in Kansas, three in Montana and one in Wyoming. Once its licenses are awarded, Mountain Solutions will begin competing with larger companies such as MCI, which participated in earlier FCC auctions for large companies that intend to provide PCS service.
“There is the potential of eventually having five PCS providers in one area and all competing against each other,” Langford said. “But that’s the nature of both the spirit and the intent of the Telecommunications Act and why this bandwidth is being offered – so there would be meaningful competition in the industry. We’re basically little guys, and we’re going to be out there competing against the big guys.”
It will be some time, though, before a PCS network will be implemented.
“PCS service can eventually replace any hardwire service once the networks are built,” Langford said. “It took 10 years for cellular to build out all their networks, so I think PCS will build theirs faster. There are a number of things, like data transmission, that PCS can do that cellular will never be able to do.
“There is a lot to learn about PCS technology,” Langford added. “We are evolving to be a very full-service provider, with not only the flat-rate calling service, but voice mail, 800-number service and paging. Eventually, all of that will evolve into a wireless product, and that’s a challenging direction for us to head right now.”
ÿ

Anyone who’s had trouble making calls on a cellular phone might appreciate the new technology being offered by the Lakewood telecommunications company, Mountain Solutions.

The 4-year-old firm has been awarded 12 licenses by the Federal Communications Commission to begin offering Personal Communications Service, considered the next wave in wireless communications.
“PCS technology is all digital,´ said Mountain Solutions president and CEO Lynn Langford. “You get a better quality of transmission, and you get multiple other features that are also available on the PCS wireless bandwidth.”
Those features include voice mail, two-way paging, and regular phone service that can “eventually serve as…

Categories:
Sign up for BizWest Daily Alerts