UCI Cellular Services

Cell phone

Cell phones are a significant component of work life at UCI, whether for reaching people away from the office, connecting to the Web and email with a smartphone, or receiving critical notifications (zotAlert) in the event of a campus emergency.

OIT works with many cellular providers to continuously improve coverage at UCI, as well as to make discounted services available to employees. A summary of providers with a presence at UCI (AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless) as well as cell site locations can be found online.  Recently, for example, a new AT&T site was installed on Engineering Tower, significantly improving coverage for AT&T subscribers.

OIT is also researching new technologies in the field of cellular telephony.  One promising new technology is the “Distributed Antenna System” (DAS) whereby numerous small, easily-installed antennas communicate through fiber optic cable to a coordination site which connects to the cellular carriers.  This makes cellular coverage more like Wireless Internet (WiFi) in its flexibility and capacity.

We are always happy to hear from cell users on campus about their experiences so that we can prioritize proposals from cellular carriers for improving coverage at UCI.

Improved Nextel Coverage at UCI

NACS announces the completion of a Nextel cell site located at Engineering Tower. On June 28, the site was activated by Nextel engineers to improve their service coverage and boost capacity to the campus.

Cellular service at UCI has been limited by terrain and building layout, as well as the large number of subscribers on campus and the surrounding areas. Verizon and Nextel approached NACS and proposed construction of cell sites at Engineering Tower to alleviate the coverage and capacity issues. NACS worked with appropriate campus units and with both companies to construct those cell sites (Verizon completed their site Nov. 2002.) As most know, cellular coverage is very important here at UCI not only for everyday use but for emergencies that might arise.

NACS is working hard with all local cellular carriers to provide quality service to UCI’s faculty, staff, and students. Currently UCI provides space under contract with Cingular (2 sites), Verizon, and Nextel. NACS is in open discussions with campus administration and other carriers for sites to be located at UCI.

For information on cell site safety, please visit our NACS web site. www.nacs.uci.edu/communication/cellsitesafety.html

Improved Cellular Service

In 2001, the campus formed a committee to review the issue of cellular telephone sites on the UCI campus. These sites are required to support cell phone services — a given vendor must have a local installation to provide their users service. UCI had only a single Cingular site on campus at the time, and users of other vendors such as Verizon and Nextel experienced limited service availability.

The committee recognized the need for additional sites, and recommended that they be allowed within certain aesthetic and campus impact constraints. The Administration approved the recommendations in the summer of 2001 and NACS was assigned the role of cell site coordination.

A second Cingular site has been installed and was operational as of August 1, 2002. A cell site for Verizon is under construction, and a site for Nextel is currently in the final steps of the approval process. Both of these sites should be operational within the next six months. Having cell sites for multiple vendors on campus will be beneficial for every day use as well as for emergency use.

For information on cell site safety, please visit www.nacs.uci.edu/communication/celsitesafety.html

Digital Cellular Telephone Service

NACS is pleased to announce a new digital cellular telephone service from Pacific Bell Mobile Services (PBMS). PBMS was recently awarded the California state contract for cellular service, with good service and pricing. NACS has established a relationship with Pacific Bell to provide convenient cellular service to the UCI community. PBMS’s digital Personal Communication Service (PCS) features good coverage throughout California, and has no roaming charges in California or Nevada. The service includes voicemail and numeric paging along with many other features. Several service plans and many equipment options are available for both UCI-paid (billed through NACS Electronic Communication Services) and employee-paid (personal) service.

For more information, see:

http://www.nacs.uci.edu/communication/cellular.html

CELLULAR SAVINGS

NACS recently renegotiated Government Service Contracts (GSAs) with LA Cellular and AirTouch Cellular to provide additional savings and benefits for UCI employees. The UCI Employee Program now includes free activation, free phone with sign-up, lower monthly fees and a variety of other pricing incentives. All cellular services currently billed through NACS-Electronic Communication Services will automatically be changed to the new program.

For more information please call 824-5123.