USA Mobility, Inc. and subsidiaries is a leading provider of reliable and affordable wireless communications solutions to the healthcare, government, large enterprise and emergency response sectors. As a single-source provider, USA Mobility’s strategy is to focus on the business-to-business marketplace and to offer the Company’s wireless connectivity solutions. The Company operates nationwide networks for both one-way paging and advanced two-way messaging services. In addition, USA Mobility offers mobile voice and data services through third party providers, including BlackBerry® devices and global positioning system (“GPS”) location applications. The Company’s product offerings include customized wireless connectivity systems for healthcare, government and other campus environments. USA Mobility also offers M2M (“machine to machine”) telemetry solutions for numerous applications that include asset tracking, utility meter reading and other remote device monitoring applications on a national scale.
The Company’s principal office is currently located at 6677 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia, 22306, and its telephone number is 800-611-8488. In the second quarter of 2010, the Company plans to relocate its principal offices to 6850 Versar Center, Suite 420, Springfield, Virginia 22151. USA Mobility’s Internet address is http://www.usamobility.com
Merger of Arch Wireless, Inc. and Metrocall Holdings, Inc.
USA Mobility is a holding company that was formed on March 5, 2004 to effect the merger of Arch Wireless, Inc. and subsidiaries (“Arch”) and Metrocall Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries (“Metrocall”), which occurred on November 16, 2004.
The mobile wireless telecommunications industry consists of multiple voice and data providers that compete among one another, both directly and indirectly, for subscribers. Messaging carriers like USA Mobility provide customers with services such as numeric and alphanumeric messaging. Customers receive these messaging services through a small, handheld device. The device, often referred to as a pager, signals a subscriber when a message is received through a tone and/or vibration and displays the incoming message on a small screen. With numeric messaging services, the device displays numeric messages, such as a telephone number. With alphanumeric messaging services, the device displays numeric and/or text messages.
Some messaging carriers also provide two-way messaging services using devices that enable subscribers to respond to messages or create and send wireless e-mail messages to other messaging devices, including pagers, personal digital assistants (“PDAs”) and personal computers. These two-way messaging devices, often referred to as two-way pagers, are similar to one-way devices except that they have a small keyboard that enables subscribers to type messages which are sent to other devices as noted above. USA Mobility provides two-way messaging and other short messaging-based services and applications using its narrowband personal communication services networks. The narrowband nature of the personal communication services network limits the size and content of the messaging services more so than broadband personal communication services.
Mobile telephone service companies, such as cellular and broadband personal communication services (“PCS”) carriers, provide telephone voice services as well as wireless messaging services that compete with USA Mobility’s one-way and two-way messaging services. Customers subscribing to cellular, broadband PCS or other mobile phone services utilize a wireless handset through which they can make and receive voice telephone calls. These handsets are commonly referred to as cellular or PCS telephones or personal digital assistant or PDA devices and are generally also capable of receiving numeric, alphanumeric and e-mail messages as well as information services, such as stock quotes, news, weather and sports updates, voice mail, personalized greetings and message storage and retrieval.
Technological improvements in PCS telephones and PDAs, including their interoperability with the users’ electronic mail systems, declining prices, and the degree of similarity in messaging devices, coverage and battery life, have resulted in competitive messaging services continuing to attract subscribers away from USA Mobility’s paging subscriber base.
Although the U.S. traditional paging industry has several licensed paging companies, the overall number of one-way and two-way messaging subscribers has been declining as the industry faces intense competition from “broadband”/voice wireless services and other forms of wireless message delivery. As a result, demand for USA Mobility’s one-way and two-way messaging services has declined over the past several years, and the Company believes that it will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The decline in demand for messaging services has largely been attributable to competition from cellular and broadband PCS carriers.
Paging and Messaging Services, Products and Operations
USA Mobility provides one-way and two-way wireless messaging services including information services throughout the United States. These services are offered on a local, regional and nationwide basis employing digital networks.
The Company’s customers include businesses with employees who need to be accessible to their offices or customers, first responders who need to be accessible in emergencies, and third parties, such as other telecommunications carriers and resellers that pay the Company to use its networks. Customers include businesses, professionals, management personnel, medical personnel, field sales personnel and service forces, members of the construction industry and construction trades, real estate brokers and developers, sales and service organizations, specialty trade organizations, manufacturing organizations and government agencies.
USA Mobility markets and distributes its services through a direct sales force and a small indirect sales channel.
Direct. The direct sales force rents or sells products and messaging services directly to customers ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to companies in the Fortune 1000, healthcare and related businesses and Federal, state and local government agencies. USA Mobility intends to continue to market to commercial enterprises utilizing its direct sales force as these commercial enterprises have typically disconnected service at a lower rate than individual consumers. USA Mobility sales personnel maintain a sales presence throughout the United States. In addition, the Company maintains several corporate sales groups focused on medical sales; Federal government accounts; large enterprises; advanced wireless services; systems sales applications; emergency/mass notification services and other product offerings.
Indirect. Within the indirect channel, the Company contracts with and invoices an intermediary for airtime services (which includes telemetry services). The intermediary or “reseller” in turn markets, sells, and provides customer service to the end user. Generally, there is no contractual relationship that exists between USA Mobility and the end subscriber. Therefore, operating costs per unit to provide these services are lower than those required in the direct distribution channel. Indirect units in service typically have lower average revenue per unit than direct units in service. The rate at which subscribers disconnect service in the indirect distribution channel has generally been higher than the rate experienced with direct customers, and USA Mobility expects this trend to continue in the foreseeable future.
Customers may subscribe to one-way or two-way messaging services for a periodic (monthly, quarterly or annual) service fee which is generally based upon the type of service provided, the geographic area covered, the number of devices provided to the customer and the period of commitment. Voice mail, personalized greeting and equipment loss and/or maintenance protection may be added to either one-way or two-way messaging services, as applicable, for an additional monthly fee. Equipment loss protection allows subscribers who lease devices to limit their cost of replacement upon loss or destruction of a messaging device. Maintenance services are offered to subscribers who own their device.
A subscriber to one-way messaging services may select coverage on a local, regional or nationwide basis to best meet their messaging needs. Local coverage generally allows the subscriber to receive messages within a small geographic area, such as a city. Regional coverage allows a subscriber to receive messages in a larger area, which may include a large portion of a state or sometimes groups of states. Nationwide coverage allows a subscriber to receive messages in major markets throughout the United States. The monthly fee generally increases with coverage area. Two-way messaging is generally offered on a nationwide basis.
The demand for one-way and two-way messaging services declined at each specified date and USA Mobility believes demand will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. Demand for the Company’s services has also been impacted by the weak United States economy and increased unemployment rates nationwide. To the extent that unemployment may increase throughout 2010, the Company anticipates an unfavorable impact on the level of subscriber cancellations.
USA Mobility provides wireless messaging services to subscribers for a periodic fee, as described above. In addition, subscribers either lease a messaging device from the Company for an additional fixed monthly fee or they own a device, having purchased it either from the Company or from another vendor. USA Mobility also sells devices to resellers who lease or resell devices to their subscribers and then sell messaging services utilizing the Company’s networks.
Messaging Networks and Licenses
USA Mobility holds licenses to operate on various frequencies in the 150 MHz, 450 MHz and 900 MHz narrowband. The Company is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) to operate Commercial Mobile Radio Services (“CMRS”). These licenses are required to provide one-way and two-way messaging services over the Company’s networks.
USA Mobility operates local, regional and nationwide one-way networks, which enable subscribers to receive messages over a desired geographic area. The majority of the messaging traffic that is transmitted on the Company’s 150 MHz and 450 MHz frequency bands utilize the Post Office Code Standardization Advisory Group (“POCSAG”) messaging protocol. This technology is an older and less efficient air interface protocol due to slower transmission speeds and minimal error correction. One-way networks operating in 900 MHz frequency bands predominantly utilize the FLEXtm protocol developed by Motorola, Inc. (“Motorola”); some legacy POCSAG traffic also is broadcast in the 900 MHz frequency band. The FLEXtm protocol is a newer technology having the advantages of functioning at higher network speeds (which increases the volume of messages that can be transmitted over the network) and of having more robust error correction (which facilitates message delivery to a device with fewer transmission errors).
The Company’s two-way networks utilize the ReFLEX 25tm protocol, also developed by Motorola. ReFLEX 25tm promotes spectrum efficiency and high network capacity by dividing coverage areas into zones and sub-zones. Messages are directed to the zone or sub-zone where the subscriber is located allowing the same frequency to be reused to carry different traffic in other zones or sub-zones. As a result, the ReFLEX 25tm protocol allows the two-way network to transmit substantially more messages than a one-way network using either the POCSAG or FLEXtm protocols. The two-way network also provides for assured message delivery. The network stores messages that could not be delivered to a device that is out of coverage for any reason, and when the unit returns to service, those messages are delivered. The two-way paging network operates under a set of licenses called narrowband PCS, which uses 900 MHz frequencies. These licenses require certain minimum five and ten-year build-out commitments established by the FCC, which have been satisfied.
Although the capacities of the Company’s networks vary by market, USA Mobility has a significant amount of excess capacity. The Company has implemented a plan to manage network capacity and to improve overall network efficiency by consolidating subscribers onto fewer, higher capacity networks with increased transmission speeds. This plan is referred to as network rationalization. Network rationalization will result in fewer networks and therefore fewer transmitter locations, which the Company believes will result in lower operating expenses due primarily to lower site rent expenses.