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1.4 Personal Communications Services (PCSs)

The FCC defines PCS5 as "Radio communications that encompass mobile and ancillary fixed communication that provides services to individuals and business and can be integrated with a variety of competing networks." However, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has a different definition for PCS:

A mobile radio voice and data service for the provision of unit-to-unit communications, which can have the capability of public switched telephone network access, and which is based on microcellular or other technologies that enhance spectrum capacity to the point where it will offer the potential of essentially ubiquitous and unlimited, untethered communications.

PCS can also be defined in a broader sense6 as a set of capabilities that allows some combination of personal mobility and service management. In short, PCS7 is a commonly used term that defines the next generation of advanced wireless networks providing personalized communication services. In Europe, the term "personal communication networks (PCNs)" is used instead of PCS.

The basic requirements for a PCS are:

  • Users must be able to make calls wherever they are

  • Offered services must be reliable and of good quality

  • Provision of multiple services such as voice, fax, video, paging, etc., must be available.

Unlike AMPS, PCS is aimed at the personal consumer industry for mass consumption. The FCC's view of PCS is one where the public switched telephone network (PSTN) is connected to a variety of other networks, such as CATV (cable television), AMPS cellular systems, etc.

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