Out-of-area deal for wireless phones


The local affiliate of Sprint Spectrum said it has reached a deal that will let its customers use their wireless phones outside the Baltimore-Washington area for the first time, but initially only when they travel to the New York area.

American Personal Communications of Bethesda, which controls the local Sprint Spectrum affiliate, quickly carved out up to a 30 percent share of the Baltimore-Washington wireless phone market after introducing all-digital personal communications service phones in 1995. But other companies have APC's digital service, and its bundling of wireless phone, paging and voice mail service in a single package. Competitors have been stressing APC's inability to offer "roaming" in their marketing.

APC's phones use a European technology little-used in the United States -- even Sprint wireless units in other cities use a different format -- so APC could not offer roaming until carriers using the same technology in other cities built networks. APC says it eventually will offer roaming in cities where 98 percent of the U.S. population lives, beginning with California, the Carolinas and Tennessee this spring.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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