Verizon Wireless Expansion May Affect Alarm Industry

An acquisition within the cellular market may affect some of your customers. Verizon Wireless has announced that it is buying Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) for $2.67 billion, and the after effect means a switch from GSM service to CDMA.

The acquisition will affect roughly 716,000 RCC subscribers. The part that should be of interest for alarm companies is that Verizon has announced its intention to convert subscribers from existing GSM service to CDMA service. Currently, RCC has used both technologies. CDMA has been in favor lately primarily for its ability to transmit more data over the cellular network due to the way its signal format is organized. That conversion is expected to begin occurring in Spring 2008.

"This should be a heads up to the alarm industry," said Bob Cochrane of Guardcom, a Bangor, Maine-based alarm firm specializing in wireless systems. "Dealers with accounts in the areas served by RCC may have to remove the GSM long range alarm transmitters in their subscriber's premises, and replace them with a CDMA unit sometime next year."

Rural Cellular Corporation's primary customer areas include New England, the Southwest and Plains states, primarily in the rural areas.