Office complexes, manufacturing warehouses, and other facilities that are spread out and supported with disbursed populations of employees offer ideal opportunities for the wireless service provider. Motorola, which introduced its M-Cell GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications) access product at the 1998 GSM World Congress, was able to provide attendees with support for over 16,000 calls during the three-day conference. This system is essentially an internal telephone system that functions like any other PBX system except that it is supported by a localized GSM wireless network operator. In this environment, building distributed RF (radio frequency) units linked to cluster controllers support internal interoffice calling. When a user leaves the office, his or her calls are then seamlessly linked via the local GSM wireless network. Once General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) support is added to the network, nonvoice services also can be supported.
In the United States, service providers are now pursuing wireless office services (WOS) as a new market niche. In this environment, the service provider establishes a distributed radio system (DRS) throughout the office or multitenant facility in much the same way that a PBX system or wireless LAN is configured. In this scenario, mini base stations (MBS) are interfaced to distributed antennas (DAS), forming the basic infrastructure. The MBS units are linked in much the same way as in building data networks, which in turn are linked to a central radio. The advantage of these carrier-provided solutions is the transparent mobility of the end users in the system. While in the building or corporate facilities, the end users do not incur any per-minute billing; however, once they leave the premises, they are treated like regular mobile users and billed accordingly.
In this arrangement, the end user is never out of touch and always within reach, as one assigned telephone number follows the end user both on and off premises. Cellular One on the West Coast is currently offering this service in the San Francisco area.
Sprint has begun to offer wireless data service over its PCS network, which comprises over 11,000 base stations. This network exceeds the BellSouth Wireless Data service and ARIDS combined data networks. The Sprint data network will work through Sprint PCS smart phones, such as the Nokia, Motorola, or Qualcomm, that support smart set displays. Further, these smart sets, when configured with microbrowsers, can be used to access the Internet for e-mail and other abridged services. This new data service also provides access to stock quotes and other time-critical information. Kits are available to provide Internet access for laptops or PDAs at 14.4 kbps.