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Businesses Switching to Nextel - Advantages?

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ScanFanEd

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Hello All --

I was reading the thread in the Florida Forum about nearly all of Disneyworld operations switching to Nextel from their former 800MHz trunked system. This reminded me of the fact that I have seen quite a bit of this in my travels - such as large resort hotels switching to Nextel, as well as other businesses. Most recently, I was at a large hotel in Texas, there they appeared to have all of housekeeping on a Nextel group, catering on another, maintenance, management and so on.

For those that may be involved in some of the decisions to go from a trunked system to Nextel, I am wondering what the primary reason are. Is it cost? Coverage? Privacy? In the case of Disneyworld, I would suspect that they spent a lot of money to switch many hundreds of users to Nextel, however I am not sure how the costs would compare to operating a Moto trunked system with all the radios.

I am assuming that when it comes to large operations such as Disneyworld, they are likely using the Group Connect of Nextel, which I beleive allows many users to basically be on the same talkgroup. Can anyone confirm? Does anyone know if the phones are usually setup so that they can go to one of multiple groups or is it just one? I am also wondering if they can "monitor" more than one Nextel group at a time.

I appreciate any thoughts or info that others might have.

Ed
 
N

N_Jay

Guest
There are probably 100's of Pro and Con arguments for switching or staying.

With a move this big it could even include trading Tower Site rights and advertising rights for free or discounted service.

Maybe even the sale or trade of the old trunking frequencies for service or cash.
 

b52hbuff

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ScanFanEd said:
I am assuming that when it comes to large operations such as Disneyworld, they are likely using the Group Connect of Nextel, which I beleive allows many users to basically be on the same talkgroup. Can anyone confirm? Does anyone know if the phones are usually setup so that they can go to one of multiple groups or is it just one? I am also wondering if they can "monitor" more than one Nextel group at a time.

I appreciate any thoughts or info that others might have.

Ed
At the time of the Disneyworld transition, they had 2-3 TRS and various conventional systems throughout the resort. Magic Kingdom and Epcot were on 400MHz repeatered, MGM & Disney Studios were on the 900MHz system. The early 800MHz was being dismantled. The various resorts were on repeatered, and one of the two TRS.

I'm sure the big sale for Nextel was the convergence of all of these systems.

Disneyworld has also been outsourcing various operations. They created on of the first fiber optic telephone operations. Now they sold this to someone else.

I have heard that they are 'outsourcing' their third shift cleaning operations too.

I suspect that there is some power point presentation that shows how much money disneyworld can save by dismantling these inside operations and contracting them with other vendors.

Ironically, Reedy Creek, which runs the FD and EMS services on property has decided not to use Nextel and instead go with a P16 mixed mode TRS. During a recent stay, I heard a lot of stories from the monorail drivers about poor coverage in the resort.

So we'll just have to see...
 

Gilligan

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I'm betting that Nextel had to add quite a bit more coverage to facilitate Disney's addition. Maybe a few more towers, etc. I'm curious if they ever get "busy" signals when they try to key up on their nextels. Some of those users have to be pretty busy, but I'd guess that nextel added continually until busy signals were no more. I'm actually wanting to go to nextel myself, just due to the low cost and coverage. I've tried a lot of simplex ops and don't have the funds for a repeater, so it's the way to go for me, but I don't know how expensive it gets for groups and companies. That's my two cents worth...
 

rescuecomm

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Travelers Rest, SC
Nextel usage

The factory I previously worked at used UHF Motorola's for maintenance ops. I had my personally owned Nextel at the time. I noticed one day that the shipping and recieving guys had Nextels. I inquired about them and found out they were only using them to talk from the guardhouse to the various warehouses on the site. They weren't even taking them home! I showed the manager of operations that he could save money by using UHF and putting a desktop repeater on the site and he just looked puzzled at me. I never mentioned it again and later went to work somewhere else. The site ended up shutting down 4 of the 5 plants there. Nextel does have good salesmen, but everytime you keyup it rings on the cash register. It may not be the best option in the long run.
 

BaLa

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We use a bunch of Kenwood UHF Radios.
We're supposed to be going to start using Nextels, they think they will save money.

The person I talked to who said we would save a bunch of money by switching to them.
The Nextels are supposedly $17/month per unit for unlimited use.

I guess they spend a lot on replacing batteries/chargers on the HHs.
Also our license is expired so I'm not sure if that is somehow figured into the cost.


We've got 2 Warehouses, and a Plant and communication sux between them, also truck drivers that drive back and forth.

I guess they're to cheap for a repeater or a simple trunking system.
I know the mobiles we have on the forktrucks (TK880s) are LTR capable, don't know the model numbers of the HHs.
 

Jay911

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Around here, one of the major companies that offers rental comms is also the primary local cell/iDEN provider. So they simply shut down their Mot II/IIi and LTR trunk systems and reallocated the frequencies to new iDEN towers - thus, the reason people switched here was lack of other options.

The city transit system here has been using iDEN for years. I don't know anyone in Transit so I don't know what their opinion of the system is - but I have to assume they are at least content with it, since they haven't moved to something else.

The fire department experimented with giving their chief officers iDEN phones - for about three weeks. Then they went back to regular cell phones and stuck with their Mot II SZ system for radio comms.

I've heard rumors that the province has intentions of replacing its old, UHF-conventional-repeater network with iDEN phones - despite the fact that a province-wide trunked network is almost guaranteed to be in place in a few years. I have no hard data on the reliability of the network around here, but one of the big users would be parks and forestry - in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Considering that the very area near me that they propose to cover with iDEN doesn't even have cellular coverage right now, I have my doubts that it will be a viable solution.
 

Grivo

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Let me share my Nextel experience.

Several years ago nextel approached our dept of 1200 folks and promised us that as a LE agency would have priority access. They made my boss an offer that any reasonable person would know was BS but he bit it. They gave us tons of of phones and accessories.

Now the main thing we were concerned about was how the Nextel infrastructure would hold up during and after a critical event such as a hurricane or terror attack.
Nextel promised us they had backup power at all cell sites, redundancy and numerous contingency plans.

Then Hurricane Ivan hit punched us in the face. The first thing we noticed is that Nextel's system crashed and was inoperable for weeks. There were no backup plans, no backup power and no anything really. We were left without any telephone capability in the field. Of course we still had our govt radio system but we couldn't make phone calls on that nor could we barely get a word in anyway due to the rescue ops.

Other providers such as Alltel, Cingular etc had their issues too but it was mostly due to system overload. They had backup power and contingency plans. We took turns borrowing our partners' personal Alltel phones to call our loved ones.

Since then Nextel has tried to make it up to my boss by "donating" money to his favorite cause, himself. We still use them and we still suffer from many overloaded towers and lousy coverage making communications frustrating. I have seen nothing to indicate Nextel upgraded the towers or power backups as promised post-Ivan.
When we told the boss we needed to know he told us to not to ask them. Hmmmm?

Moral of the story:
Nextel provides a decent service for persons such as plumbers or soccer moms but only a fool would trust them with critical communications. Disney made a business decision and I'm confident they won't be relying on them for their emergency comms.

Comms infrastructure is expensive but it's your to live and die by so you keep it running and running smoothly. Never rely on an outside company with slick salesmen to be there for you in a pinch. For most this is not an issue but for some it's as real as life and death.
 

Bentley

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I work for the local water department here in NJ and we are switching to nextel because our repeater went down. Our repeater is so old and antiquated, it is impossible to get parts for it anymore. It is MUCH cheaper for us to switch to nextel vs. getting our system redone.
 

JohnnyGalaga

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Nextel sucks because you can't listen to it on a scanner.
 
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N_Jay

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JohnnyGalaga said:
Nextel sucks because you can't listen to it on a scanner.
Nextel sucks for a whole lot of reasons (and that is not one of them).

Of course Nextel is also great for a whole lot of reasons.
 

Thayne

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Is sucking in the Eye of the beholder or the mouth of the holder?? :)

Just kidding, not trying to be nasty, but I think both--
 

rescuecomm

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Nextel

The message about Nextel being good and bad is true. Must better range than a single site repeater system. "BUT"!!!

Our rescue squad needed additional comm capability because the main dispatch channel (local government) overloads during bad wx (Public works crews, 3 other rescue squads, Etc)

20 Nextel phones 15.00 per month -- 3,600 per year. Every year.

15 Motorola CP200 VHF w/t's with rapid chargers 285.00 ea/ 4275.00
1 Vertex VXR7000 repeater with duplexer 1,950.00
Licensing fee's APCO, FCC etc. 850.00
Already had free site on city water tank. Had a used stationmaster antenna donated by business now using cell phones. hardline coax on site abandoned by former user in good shape.

Total cost for VHF system-- 7075.00 Put it up in 2004. We have got our money back.
Nextel is not always cheaper!

Bob
 

Bentley

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Pretty interesting Bob...I think I'm going to do some research on this for my boss and see if he goes for the new repeater. I would much rather use radios than nextel. I will get together some $$$ ammounts and see what he says.

Thanks
 

kb2vxa

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Hi all,

"Disneyworld has also been outsourcing various operations."

You're beginning to see the light, in two words, bean counters. Operation of a radio system involves more than hardware and maintainance, it involves considerable accounting. Eliminate the syatem and you eliminate a big portion of accounting as well. It's called "downsizing" actually but "outsourcing" will do since that's what they're doing to both the radio system and it's associated accounting, they just pay a bill and Nextel does the rest. Then there is the tax advantage but I'm not giving you a course in business management, just think assets and liabilities, profit and loss.

"I think I'm going to do some research on this for my boss...and see what he says."

Save yourself the trouble, the answer is "no". You're thinking radio, he's thinking money. Does the boss ever think anything else? Again the answer is NO. You're on completely different planes of reality, you're thinking short term advantage, he's thinking long term loss. (You're not paid to think, that's the boss' job, or "I'll do the thinnin around here Babalooie.") Then there is something else to consider, you're taking a big responsibility upon yourself. Life isn't a bowl of cherries, it's a jar of jalepiños. What you do today can bite you on the ass tomorrow.

For the entertainment aspect listen to The Wall Street Shuffle by 10cc followed by Time Bomb. (;->)
 
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wilbilt

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In our small organization, we have about 30 Nextel users, including myself.

The coverage here is terrible, and I can't imagine anyone relying on it for critical communications.

The units are cheap and not very durable. We have constant problems with worn-out charging contacts, suddenly dying batteries and units that shut themselves off without warning.

During a recent outage, I was told by a Nextel network specialist that the outage had started the previous day in Washington and was "moving down the west coast" (we are in northern California).

Puhleeze.
 

OpSec

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NextHell is good for non-critical interpersonal communications, but to use them for critical comms like police/fire/ems in place of radios is insane.
 

mredding

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Freehold, NJ
At work, we have RELM mobile radios in the ambulances that don't work anymore, and any repeater we may have once had is long gone. We have Nextel's which really should be used as backup only, as they are very unreliable. The hospital received a $70,000 grant to upgrade the radio system that they have done nothing with. Soon if they don't act they have to give the money back. Of course, MICU's trucks work fine, but BLS has POS's.

The state DOH says we have to have working VHF mobiles. I tried to get them to fail our six trucks. They've been inspected twice since. It hasn't happened.

As far as performance goes, I get the busy/unavailable tone about three in every four tries. Most of the time I just say "Eff it" and call on the facility's phone after every assignment. If I ever had to rely on Nextel in an emergency, I'd be pushing up daisies right now. If no one cares about my safety, I wonder if I should care about my job.
 
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