AT&T packs “Fly-away” cell tower in a suitcase, Mary Poppins style

Apr 25, 2011
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AT&T packs “Fly-away” cell tower in a suitcase, Mary Poppins style

AT&T is offering a "cell tower in a suitcase" for disaster management, emergencies and temporary sites, a portable satellite base station which can get multiple users connected in a short amount of time. Part of AT&T's Remote Mobility Zone system, the so-called "Fly-away" solution has a half-mile range and can be used with regular GSM handsets.

While AT&T provides a satellite dish, if there's a stable wired backbone to the network then the "Fly-away" solution can be hooked up direct to that. In effect, it's a big femtocell, just like AT&T's 3G Microcell, but one which requires powering from an external generator.

According to the AP the systems will range from $15,000 to $45,000, as well as being subject to monthly fees. They'll be on sale to governments and businesses, though are probably overkill unless you live in an area with particularly bad reception.

Press Release:

AT&T Remote Mobility Zone Aids Critical Communications in Emergency and Disaster Situations

Business and Government Organizations of All Sizes Can Now Activate Emergency Cell Sites

Business, government and public safety agencies can be better prepared for natural or man-made disasters with the help of AT&T Remote Mobility Zone, a new offering that provides mobile voice and data services in the absence of wireless coverage. Designed to support essential communications, AT&T Remote Mobility Zone allows organizations to set up their own cell sites during a disaster scenario. AT&T* is the first carrier to supply a customer-deployable model for mobility recovery to help with disaster recovery and business continuity efforts.

“In the pivotal first minutes of a natural or man-made disaster, AT&T Remote Mobility Zone provides a solution to help maintain critical mobile communications,” said Chris Hill, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. “With AT&T Remote Mobility Zone, users can set up a cell site in less than 30 minutes.”

AT&T Remote Mobility Zone is also well suited for organizations that operate in remote locations where AT&T holds licensed spectrum, but in which wireless coverage may not be available. AT&T Mobility Vanguard Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T, can install permanent cell sites for customers that work in these areas, providing mobile voice and data service.

AT&T offers several options of Remote Mobility Zone solutions:

Fixed site deployment establishes a mounted cell site for use as a backup communications system or as a primary network in zones without wireless network coverage. This can help enhance business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities by enabling sensitive operations to proceed even in loss-of-service situations.
The “Fly-away” solution packs a small cell site into a suitcase, offering first responders an easy-to-use, transportable system that can bring voice and data coverage to an area where disaster has knocked out communication channels. These small cell sites can extend connectivity up to one half of a mile in any direction from the suitcase site. Created for use by police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders, the Fly-away AT&T Remote Mobility Zone option is currently available to government agencies and personnel.
“Park and Use,” designed specifically for government use, integrates small cell sites into vehicles, allowing users to drive to locations without wireless coverage and activate service then and there. Roof-mounted satellite antennas further enhance communications on the move.
Customers that choose to protect their communications with AT&T Remote Mobility Zone can use their existing AT&T handsets with all three of the solutions listed above. Additionally, in disaster or emergency conditions, AT&T Remote Mobility Zone clients with AT&T Wireless Priority Service can choose to prioritize certain cellular traffic to ensure that key personnel can access the network.

Today’s announcement is the latest addition to AT&T’s portfolio of solutions that help mobilize government and business. AT&T offers a wide array of business continuity services, encompassing disaster planning, risk management, recovery preparedness and communications readiness. AT&T Business Continuity Services are comprehensive, providing customers with business-impact analysis, risk assessments, enterprise hosting, cloud computing and application services, a full continuum of storage solutions, high-availability network solutions and network and IT security solutions.

AT&T also conducts several Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercises each year, the most recent of which took place in Dallas in March. These events are designed to test, refine and strengthen AT&T’s business continuity and disaster recovery services. By simulating large-scale disasters and network service disruptions, AT&T can apply and hone best practices for rapidly restoring communications.

AT&T has invested more than $600 million in its NDR program, which includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 320 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center.

For more information on AT&T Remote Mobility Zone and other enterprise mobility solutions, please visit: www.att.com/armz.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.


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