Morgan O'Brien: Private radio 'can't sustain' narrowband, needs to migrate to broadband

Oct 07, 2013

Nextel Communications co-founder Morgan O'Brien tells UC editor-in-chief Glenn Bischoff that the private radio industry "can't sustain" business models revolving around narrowband technology, so it should look to broadband LTE. O'Brien made the comments last week in St. Louis at the 2013 Wireless Leadership Summit, which was sponsored by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and USMSS.

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SCOTT ADAMS (not verified)
on Oct 8, 2013

How much you wanna bet Mr. O'Brien has got a huge financial stake in LTE infrastructure? His comments were so far off base that it was a jaw dropper. He even contradicted himself when he said he needed 30 MHz for his little baby but then suggested the 20 MHz between 450 MHz and 470 MHz, currently populated by tens of thousands of users on 12.5 KHz wide channels. Like they'd really enjoy moving off the band they've occupied for a bunch of decades. I guess he remembers his success in convincing his old cronies at the FCC would for him on 450 MHz what they did for him (and Motorola and Craig McCaw) by giving him the 800 MHz business/industrial plus allowing him to run a personal mobile phone service on a band that was prohibited from doing just that for anyone else.

on Oct 28, 2013

There seems to be a developing consensus that some part of today's critical voice communications will be migrating to broadband over the next decade. A recent UC poll revealed similar opinions. When today's "buying community" sees this as inevitable it will begin to bring huge changes to this market - both to users, agencies, and suppliers alike - and will require substantive and creative strategic planning on all fronts that needs to start now.

radioNY (not verified)
on Mar 25, 2014

Scott, you are straight on. This guy is just lining his pockets at the expense of everyone else. We just have to fight the good fight and tell these LTE fools to pound off.

How sad is what is going on. Let's just confiscate every ounce of every spectrum for LTE, which most will not use. Leave nothing left for any one for any purpose? Idiots

Joe Leikhim (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2014

VHF/UHF Narrowband is a performance sweet spot. It needs to remain that way. I can suggest a great way to improve the utility of that spectrum using narrowband. I would start with VHF which needs to be restructured for duplex repeater pairing. Then overlay a low power narrowband FHSS service over the odd channels using tech like used for 900 MHz ISM.

FCC should be prepared for thousands of reply comments should anyone suggest refarming those bands for wideband technology.

What happened to all that TV whitespace? Mr. O' Brien, put your cellular gizmos over there!

GBH (not verified)
on Dec 2, 2016

While broadband gets all of the praise and glory, the hard facts are that digital radio performs poorly in many areas of the country. Not everywhere is it a few unobstructed miles to the repeater. Even P25 was mostly a nonstarter here in Montana versus analog voice. Broadband wouldn't even get out the door for that application, and that's what really has to work. Whiz bang digital toys look great but voice has to work all the time.

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