Ground Shifts Under Mobile Communications

October 6, 1999

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The ever-changing mobile communications landscape so important to trucking is experiencing major business and technological tremors.

Last week, telephone giants MCI and Sprint, both of which grew exponentially after the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s, announced a merger. MCI will buy Sprint for $115 billion, the largest such deal in U.S. corporate history, which will surely have an impact on current and evolving mobile communications services. Sprint is the largest U.S. provider of digital phone and data service in the CDMA format developed by Qualcomm.
This week, Motorola -- a longtime supplier of trucking communications -- introduced MIX (for Mobile Internet Exchange), a device-independent communications platform that integrates voice and data. MIX will be able to link, or synchronize, remote devices -- mobile phones and desktop computers, for example -- allowing one to access the resources of the other almost instantly. MIX could also make voice recognition useful in accessing the Internet. And it will allow live conversation on the same device being used to access data.
MIX could, for example, allow drivers, sales people and mobile workers access to information from the World Wide Web through hands-free voice communication. It will likely find use the hand-held technology popular in the package and LTL industries as well as in applications and devices not yet conceived of.

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