NextGen Mobile formed to help small operators

A new company announced its formation this week to represent 28 small businesses that have won licenses in the Advanced Wireless Services and 700 MHz auctions. The company, called NextGen Mobile, said its mission is to help its members work together and pool their resources so they can compete effectively in their local markets. The company's members operate or anticipate operating networks that use GSM technologies, including UMTS and eventually LTE.

NextGen Mobile does not appear to have a web site yet, nor has it published a list of its members. However, in a press release, the organization said its formation is the outgrowth of a year-long dialog among some existing mobile operators and companies that won spectrum in recent auctions. The company said it wants to work on initiatives that would otherwise be duplicated by each company if each pursued their business objectives independently. By pooling their resources to work on RF optimization, billing, customer care, roaming, network operations, and other matters, the members expect to be able to increase efficiencies and reduce their individual costs. One of their top priorities is to aggregate their orders for UMTS handsets and data cards in order to create sales volumes that will help lower product costs for their customers.

The chair and CEO of the new company is E. Kelly Bond, vice president of Public Service Communications and general manager of Public Service Cellular, which are both part of Public Service Telephone Company in Georgia. Public Service's customers reside in 1,050 square miles of territory between Macon and Columbus, Georgia. According to FCC documents, the company won seven AWS licenses in that part of Georgia.

The secretary/vice chairman is Craig Freeman, who is affiliated with Simmetry Communications. Simmitery is a subsidiary of Adams Telephone Cooperative, which offers telephone, cellular and Internet services in Illinois.

The treasurer/chief financial officer is Bob Martin, who is affiliated with a company, called PC Management, which is based in Florida.