Sprint PCS Attacked By Spectrum Snatchers By Kristy Bassuener March 21, 2002 ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sprint PCS subscribers trying to make and receive calls were stopped in their tracks at CTIA's Wireless 2002 event in Orlando, Fla. An apparently inadvertent spectrum-filching took place amid all the technology demonstrations on the enormous show floor. Sprint PCS subscribers dialing out from inside Orlando's Orange County Convention Center heard a recorded message to the effect that the subscriber is not a 'registered roamer' instead of the familiar ringing sounds. Incoming calls often didn't get through. Carrier officials were frustrated, pointing out that the snags were happening at a time when Sprint PCS had the chance to showcase its strength in front of a global audience. By late Monday, speculation was that another company may have used Sprint PCS airwaves to demonstrate their products. No matter what the cause, 'the fact is that they are interfering with our spectrum and that's not something I take lightly,' Sprint PCS President Chuck Levine told Wireless Week. By late Tuesday, Sprint PCS RF sniffers had identified two companies that apparently were causing the problems, says spokesman Dan Wilinsky, declining to identify the companies beyond that they are not carriers. One company was using Sprint PCS' 1900 MHz frequency, while the other was using a frequency nearby that caused interference. Both companies shut down or altered frequencies demonstrations after learning of the problems. Wilinsky says the problems don't appear deliberate. The company has contacted the FCC and CTIA to discuss the problem as well as future solutions. Attempts to reach CTIA officials for information and plans to avoid similar problems in the future also were unsuccessful by deadline. In late January, telecom design and engineering firm Comsearch Inc. announced that CTIA had chosen to use it as frequency coordinator for the Wireless 2002 event, aiming to monitor the multiple demonstrations to avoid interference problems. Chris Hardy, vice president of spectrum-management solutions for Comsearch, says that the problem exhibitors did not go through the frequency coordination process set up before the show. Hardy didn't provide many more specifics, pointing out that the company is still looking into the problem and hopes to have a report to CTIA by next week.