UNC Getting Into Cell Phone Business

Students who use cellular phones have the option this summer to buy service tailored to their lifestyles through a University program designed to integrate campus communication.

The Carolina Wireless Initiative is an optional program modeled after the Carolina Computing Initiative, through which students can buy laptop computers. The University will be working with Cingular Wireless to provide telephones and service. Students can choose from three phones and two calling plans designed to accommodate different needs.

The phones available through CWI will be able to interface with the campus networks to provide students access to e-mail and calendars. The ultimate objective of the program is to offer fully incorporated communications services to students.

“The goal over a long period of time is to provide a machine highly complimentary to their laptops,” said John Oberlin ’90 (MBA), executive director for academic technology and networks. “That way the user can be indifferent between which device they use.”

In addition to e-mail access, CWI phones eventually might come equipped with intelligent features that automatically update according to the academic calendar.

“We are always looking for ways of making tools even more useful for students,” said Bruce Egan, associate director of ATN. “This could be the basis for working into a more integrated system.”

The help line currently available for laptop support also will offer assistance to CWI customers. Technical support staff will be able to connect students to Cingular to assist with any technical problems not initially supported by UNC.

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