AP Newsfeatures Portable telephoning at lower cost and without the bother of lugging a unit the size of a laptop computer will move a step closer if a technology called CT-2 reaches the consumer, reports Changing Times, the Kiplinger magazine.
CT stands for cordless telephone. About 35 companies are working on CT-2. You carry a handset in your pocket and whip it out to dial from the sidewalk or hallway, billing calls to your home or office number. The Federal Communications Commission is encouraging experiments with this and other "personal communications services."Phone industry experts expect the FCC to decide this year if and when to permanently allocate airwave rights. Licensing and construction of "telepoints," or CT-2 transmitting boxes, could then begin.
The disadvantage of CT-2 is that it can only be used to dial out, not to receive calls. Kenneth Reid, associate editor of Communications Daily, says this makes CT-2 "sort of like a portable pay phone system" that needs a supplementary pager if you want to be able to get messages as well as make calls.
Cost will make or break CT-2. Matt Edwards, who operates an experimental CT-2 network in Monticello, N.Y., and has just started another in New York City's South Street Seaport area, says he can charge 80 percent less than cellular for local calls during business hours.
But other phone experts say the difference might not be so dramatic once cellular systems go all-digital and increase their capacity immensely.