Business and residential consumers are choosing cellular phones and two-way push-to-talk radios over land lines at work and at home.

Long installation and repair times coupled with the cost of operating Guam Telephone Authority business phones were the reasons at least executive switched his business over to full wireless communications.

David M. Larson owner and general manager of television station KTGM which is known as Guam’s own TV-14 has taken the leap over to complete wireless communications.

Larson told the Journal he has fewer problems with repair issues thereby increasing profitability and is growing his bottom line by saving money over traditional business line charges he would otherwise have to pay to the Guam Telephone Authority.

“Colleagues in business may at first think the steps we took to go wireless might be crazy but the bottom line is simply that the bottom line” Larson said. “It’s economics because we were in a state of transition and IT&E was offering wireless services. We looked at annual costs and figured we could save several hundred dollars if we tried this system out and it worked.”

Larson said his solution may not be suitable for all businesses because TV 14 does not get an automatic listing in the Guam Phonebook’s annual white pages. “We contacted our clients and because we are a communications medium we were able to get the word out and we really haven’t noticed any loss of calls.”

The decision to switch to complete wireless communications came when TV-14 moved from the Atlantica Building where it had offices on the third floor for 19 years to its offices now located in RK Plaza building in Barrigada Heights. Larson said he also decided to go wireless at his home residence where he had two GTA lines.

The cost of a single-line business phone with no frills from GTA is $45 per month and a one-time installation fee of $105 applies.

Sam M. Hill communications manager for the authority said there has been a reduction in business and residential use. He attributes that to severe damage the system suffered following Supertyphoon Pongsona and a reluctance of customers to come back. “It’s easy for customers to use cell phones these days. They are everywhere.”

Hill said that GTA also automatically switches residential customers to business surcharges when it finds business is being conducted on home lines. “When you use your residential land line and put it on a business card or on the side of a car or truck we automatically upgrade customers to business charges and bill the appropriate rates. We have no control with wireless customers.”

Alan “A.J.” Rosario chief executive officer for iCON a Web development company on Guam said that while they have a hardwired line in the office virtually all other internal and all external [out-of-office] communications are wireless. “So much of our business depends of wireless communications. For example cell phones wireless Internet connections for lap tops and internal office network wireless ethernet so when storms or power-outages come we can keep moving forward without a glitch.”

Kevin Seeker marketing manager for Guamcell Communications told the Journal that no GTA land lines where used for the last Guam Home Show held at the UOG Field House on Sept. 25-26. “We supplied 12 local small businesses with wireless high speed Internet connections because securing GTA lines is costly and frankly impossible.”

Seeker said GuamCell would be doing the same for the upcoming Guam Business Show to held at the Holiday Inn Resort Guam. “Imagine just a few years ago businesses had to rely on GTA to install landlines for Internet access and credit applications and billing. Those days are history. Wireless is here and growing steadily.”

Robert F. Kelley communications specialist said residential phone users are more likely to make the transition to full wireless communications faster than businesses. “People now days have no time to wait for GTA to fix or install phones. The cost of cellular phones and push-to-talk radios has dropped so much that cost is not an issue.”

Kelley said that the Federal Communications Commission required traditional landline telecom companies in the mainland to make customers’ numbers available for use on a wireless carrier if they wished.

“We are already beginning to see the next phase of an evolution that is well underway in the States and in places like the Philippines where with wireless phones that carry free nights weekends and limitless texting using a mobile phone actually begins to make financial sense. Businesses can ask “Why pay for two lines when one will do and why pay service charges ” Kelley said.

“With cell phones having the ability to check e-mail and do other Internet-related work the conveniences and low cost are making all consumers think twice ” Kelley said. “Remember wireless phones offer busy people a chance to simplify their lives and live with one less bill and that’s worth just about any price these days.” MBJ