Government awards first cellular priority service contract
- By William Jackson
- Jan 21, 2003
The first contract for nationwide Wireless Priority Service has been awarded by the National Communications System to T-Mobile USA Inc. of Bellevue, Wash.
Wireless Priority Service is the cellular equivalent of the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, which provides priority wireline telephone service to national security and emergency service personnel during emergencies.
The administration pushed the WPS program ahead in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The first phase, called Immediate Solution, provided limited priority services for users in Washington, New York and in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympic games. The second phase, Nationwide Solution, began at the first of the year, allowing authorized users to go to the head of the queue for an open cellular channel when a WPS prefix is dialed with a number.
The service is available only on the Global System for Mobile Communications cellular system, and T-Mobile is the first carrier to provide it.
In addition to Washington and New York, the service is available in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Jacksonville, Fla; Louisville, Ken.; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Mobile, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia, and Richmond, Va.
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.