Preparation Pays Off as AMPS Fades Away


The advanced mobile phone service (AMPS) “Sunset” date has officially passed, freeing cellular carriers from their obligation to continue operating analog wireless networks. The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Feb. 18 deadline allows cellular carriers to cease providing AMPS. To comply with the FCC’s deadline, alarm and monitoring providers had to retrofit or replace customers’ analog wireless security systems in order to ensure continued operability. Customers using radio-frequency alarms were not affected by the Sunset.

Companies such as AES-IntelliNet, GE Security, Digital Security Controls (DSC) and Honeywell provided installers with the latest digital wireless technology needed for the AMPS transition.

Vector Security Inc. of Pittsburgh tells Security Sales & Integration it implemented a monthly plan to convert its customers’ systems. Vector also deployed AES radio networks in several locations, allowing the company to offer the service to its customers.

“Each of our offices was assigned a monthly quota and we managed this number on a weekly basis with reports and conference calls,” says Pamela Petrow, executive vice president of Vector Security. “We initially made contact with customers by letters, newsletters, announcements on our office greetings, Web-site notations and bill stuffers. We then followed up with telephone calls and focused letters.”

Through multiple means of communication, Vector was able to successfully reach all 6,000 of its customers affected by the Sunset deadline.

Peak Alarm Co. of Salt Lake City implemented AES two-way radio coverage in several of its territories, and by the end of the deadline, all of its customers – 90 percent of which are commercial – had been updated.

“We had few territories that had been updated with digital cell transmitters, but the units started roaming on analog frequency. We were unaware of this until the cell companies turned off the analog frequency,” says Peak Alarm President Jerry Howe. “When we replaced the old analog cell transmitters, we changed them out with our own equipment/network. Now we don’t need to pay a third party for transmitting our alarm signals in areas we have coverage.”

Nashville, Tenn.-based ADS Security saw little impact at its central station once the Sunset passed. About 1,000 of its customers had been effectively upgraded, and while not all customers were willing to pay for a new unit, the company said it dealt with the situation on a one-by-one basis to ensure all its customers were updated.

“It has given us an opportunity to reach out and touch our long-term customers that we just haven’t had an interface with in some time to ensure we are meeting their needs as their security provider, and to address any further security issues they may have,” says Lela Mullins, senior vice president of monitoring operations, ADS Security. “It has also given us an opportunity to generate more recurring revenue through the enhanced feature options in the new technology. It shows us as an industry how important it is to recognize new technology and the direction everything is going as we head into the future.”

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