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Fanfare for Four 2013 Inductees: Wireless Hall of Fame Celebration Honors Industry Leaders Farrill, Rinne, Schmitt and Warner, Salutes 30th Anniversary of Cellular


Judith S. Purcell
Coracle Group
jpurcell (at) coraclegroup dotcom

Fanfare for Four 2013 Inductees: Wireless Hall of Fame Celebration Honors
Industry Leaders Farrill, Rinne, Schmitt and Warner, Salutes 30th Anniversary of Cellular

SAN JOSE, CA—Oct. 16, 2013–Last evening, four individuals joined the list of 36 wireless industry pioneers and innovators inducted into the prestigious Wireless Hall of Fame. Selected by the nonprofit Wireless History Foundation, the leaders were honored for their extraordinary service to the industry during a sparkling celebration attended by 250 of their industry colleagues from across the country. The event also recognized the 30th anniversary of the launch of cellular communications in the United States.

The 2013 inductees are: Kris Rinne of AT&T; George Schmitt of xG Technology, Inc.; Craig Farrill of FirstNet; and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. In recorded video interviews played for the audience, the inductees shared highlights of their respective careers.

Craig Farrill—One of the original Board members of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), Mr. Farrill served as acting general manager during its organizational phase. Early in his 38-year career, he worked with Communications Industries, one of the first modern wireless companies. He also served as Chief Technology Officer for international wireless operators including Vodafone AirTouch Plc, PacTel Corp. and AirTouch Communications. He is a founder of the CDMA Development Group (CDG), an international industry association furthering digital wireless technology. Accepting his award from Raj Singh, Chairman and CEO of Telcom Ventures, Mr. Farrill said, “Clearly this industry has transformed the human race…[and] there is still a lot this industry can do for the poor, the ill, the unemployed and the underserved in this country.”

Kris Rinne—Now Senior Vice President-Network Technologies, AT&T Labs, Ms. Rinne was an early leader in deploying GSM technology in the U.S. and oversaw the company’s HSPA rollout. She formerly held the position of Vice President-Technology Strategy for SBC
Wireless and Managing Director-Operations at Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems. She also has served as Chairperson of the Board of Governors at 3G Americas, LLC, and as a Director of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). Ms. Rinne, whose early dream was to become a basketball coach and math teacher, was welcomed on stage by Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility. “I am thrilled about the way we impact the way people live, work and play every day,” she said.
George Schmitt—Now active in xG Technology, Inc., a cognitive radio company, Mr. Schmitt served as the first U.S. Chair of the GSM Association. While at Pacific Telesis, he was responsible for building a GSM system for the Mannesmann consortium in Germany, the first network of its kind in the world. As President of Omnipoint, he built the largest U.S. PCS network at the time and was on the forefront of advanced technologies, such as GSM, GPRS packet data, EDGE, positioning systems and Internet access. As an Executive Vice President for AirTouch, he constructed the world’s first CDMA network in South Korea. Gary Cuccio, Director of xG Technology, Inc., invited Mr. Schmitt to the podium. “The wireless industry already has done a lot to change the world, but a lot will happen over the next 10 to 20 years,” he predicted.

Mark Warner—Currently serving as U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Warner was elected in 2008. He previously served as Governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006. Earlier, Senator Warner was Managing Director of Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm. He was one of the initial investors in FleetCall, the company that became Nextel and was acquired by Sprint. He either founded or co-founded MRW Enterprises, Capital Cellular and Columbia Cellular. Jerry McGowan, attorney for wireless companies and former Ambassador to Portugal, accepted the award for Senator Warner, whose presence was required in Washington, D.C. due to negotiations regarding the federal government shutdown.

“The achievements of these individuals have helped drive continuing progress in the global wireless industry,” said WHF Board member Rob Mechaley, CEO of Mobilesphere Holdings LLC, and Chairman of the 2013 selection committee. “We are pleased to recognize their success and the remarkable trajectory of an industry that in only 30 years has changed the way the world communicates.”

For the reception, Mosaik Solutions created an oversized graphic depicting the history of network operator mergers and acquisitions over the past three decades. The graphic required more than two years of research. To salute 30 years of cellular service, Ericsson sponsored an Aquavit toast, reminiscent of the infrastructure provider’s widely remembered hospitality events at industry trade shows in earlier years.

Sponsors of the 2013 event included:
Bandwidth Level: AT&T, Eagle River, XG Technology, Inc. and Blooston Law
Spectrum Level: Ericsson, Sprint, Telcom Ventures, LLC, Trilogy Partnership and Verizon Wireless
Frequencies Level: Aloha Partners II, Columbia Capital, Dyna LLC, Madison Dearborn Partners, MediaTek, Mosaik Solutions, NextNav, Qualcomm and Ruckus Wireless Connections Level: CFE Telecom, Crown Castle, George Schmitt Family, Hogan Lovells, Kineto, LG Electronics, PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association and Reliance Communications

Since its inception in 2008, the Wireless Hall of Fame dinner has become a magnet event for leading wireless network operators, device makers, infrastructure manufacturers and consultants.

The 2014 celebration will take place Sept. 9 in Las Vegas during the week of the CCA 2014 Annual Convention and the CTIA 2014 Super Mobility Show. For additional information or to participate as a sponsor of the 2014 dinner, please contact Liz Maxfield at [email protected]

Small Cells Tested in Public Safety’s Band 14

Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications Authority (BayRICS) will oversee the build out and operation of one of the first LTE networks designed exclusively for public safety, which will eventually become part of the FirstNet nationwide public safety broadband network. The Band Class 14 LTE test network will take place in Silicon Valley using small cells provided by PureWave Networks.

“Small cells offer capabilities that will be very useful for public safety wireless networks, and there is much that we can learn about their use and applications from this trial,” said Barry Fraser, general manager, BayRICS. “We are eager to propose specific test scenarios and will monitor the results closely for useful information as we work with FirstNet to develop our regional broadband network.”

The BayRICS Authority is a 13-member Joint Powers Authority (JPA) representing the San Francisco Bay Area, which is responsible for funding, policy and oversight of regional public safety communications projects.

The network will consist of PureWave Networks’ Constellation family of small cell eNodeBs and will operate for the remainder of the year. Small cells will be demonstrated in a range of public safety deployment scenarios. Planned capability demonstrations include deployable networks, multi-tenant small cells and multi-operator core networks.

“Small cells will play a critical role in future public safety networks,” said Ronen Vengosh, PureWave’s vice president of marketing and business development. “In addition to increasing network capacity, small cells are the only effective solution for providing coverage in indoor public venues where public safety communications are required and for providing deployable, ad-hoc network coverage for incident management and event support.”

As part of the trial, PureWave is collaborating with a number of industry partners to evaluate unique eco-system solutions that will offer first responders advanced capabilities, including virtualized evolved packet core (EPC) solutions, and EPC-lite options hosted within the eNodeB itself. The company will also be testing the performance characteristics of the network with different UE types across a wide range of deployment scenarios and applications.

Other FirstNet pilot programs will take place in Adams County, Colo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Mississippi; Los Angeles; New Jersey; New Mexico; and Harris County, Texas.