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  1. Technology
December 4, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Pacific Telesis Group Inc is accelerating its plans for wireless technology to compete with cable. It is to acquire businesses that hold licences and rights to provide cellular television service in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego and Victorville, California. When all Pacific Telesis’s commercial wireless video systems are turned up by early 1997, it says, the company will be able to offer over 100 channels of digital television to about 7m California homes. The acquired companies also hold spectrum rights in Seattle and Spokane, Washington, Tampa, Florida and Greenville, South Carolina, bringing Pacific Telesis’s potential customer reach up to 9m. The company expects to offer more than 100 channels of programming in 1996, including broadcast and cable network programming, premium services such as Home Box Office, pay-per-view movies and events, near video on demand and educational programming. The wireless service will also provide a superior digital picture and CD-quality sound, says the company. The companies it is buyng are Wireless Holdings Inc and Videotron Bay Area Inc. Both are joint ventures between Transworld Telecommunications Inc and Montreal-based Le Groupe Videotron Ltee. The purchase will be a share swap involving the exchange of about $120m of Pacific Telesis shares, and the assumption of some $55m of their outstanding debt. The ultimate purchase price will be between $160m and $175m, subject to adjustments, the phone company said.

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