Band Three Radio Ltd is celebrating its second anniversary by announcing plans to extend its UK regional trunked mobile radio service, operating in the 175MHz to 225MHz Band III spectrum, to cover what it calls super regions – the first of which is the South-east, covering 7,000 square miles, to be open from November; it […]
Band Three Radio Ltd is celebrating its second anniversary by announcing plans to extend its UK regional trunked mobile radio service, operating in the 175MHz to 225MHz Band III spectrum, to cover what it calls super regions – the first of which is the South-east, covering 7,000 square miles, to be open from November; it is hoped that by mid-1990 nationwide coverage will be provided, with full interconnection between the six super regions that will exist by then, and with traditional voice applications to be supplemented by value-added data services. At present, Band Three has 11,000 subscribers out of an estimated total of 18,000 Band III spectrum users; sales and marketing director Callum Mackie expects this to rise to around 40,000 by the end of next year, with 75% of new subscribers expected to be either regional or national users. Managing director Andrew Robb said that the initial traffic pattern management problems had now been sorted out: a year or so ago, a culmination of the large number of off-site calls, an average call-duration 50% greater than expected, and the use of mobile-to-mobile calls for non-business reasons meant that network capacity was overstretched; this led to Band Three restricting the number of new clients, imposing a tariff on mobile-to-mobile calls, and increasing the number of channels available. In April of this year, Band Three was able to start taking on new clients again, mainly from its established fleet operator customer base in the transport and distribution, servicing and local government sectors, with the emphasis on mobile communication going through the base radio dispatcher. On the data communication side, the Radiotext facility launched last year, which enables information to be received by a fleet driver as hard copy, has had limited success because manufacturers have not supplied the necessary quantities of equipment; however, a new status messaging facility on the base dispatcher, to be launched at Comdex ’89, is intended to give one-button information on such things as the location of specific vehicles to the central computer, while hand-held microcomputers in fleet vehicles will be able to relay bar-coded information back to the central computer via a line dispatcher facility planned for next year. Band Three stresses that it still sees the vast majority of its market in voice applications, and as such the data communication facility will be available free to existing subscribers, with voice and data provided on the same system. Users subscribe to Band Three on a monthly basis, with no charge for calls made: coverage of the south east super region will cost UKP32 to UKP35 per radio each month; North and Central England coverage will cost around UKP27, and smaller regions such as Scotland and Anglia will come in at about UKP17 a month. The radios themselves are priced at around UKP550 to UKP600 each and the base dispatcher will cost UKP900. With the intended link-up of the six super regions to deliver nationwide coverage by the middle of next year, Basingstoke, Hampshire-based Band Three expects to include long-distance haulage companies and similar operations among its clients.