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Firms Win 2nd Freeway Phone Job : Comarco, Cellular to Install System in San Diego County

July 02, 1987|WARREN VIETH | Times Staff Writer

Only three weeks after landing a $6-million job to install emergency call boxes along Orange County freeways, Comarco Inc. of Anaheim and Cellular Communications Corp. of Laguna Hills have been chosen for a similar $6-million contract in San Diego County.

The call boxes, to be spaced a quarter-mile apart along freeways in both counties, contain solar-charged, cellular telephones that automatically connect stranded motorists with California Highway Patrol personnel.

Orange and San Diego counties are the first in the state to sign up with Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies, or SAFE--programs based on 1985 legislation authorizing counties to levy an annual $1 vehicle registration surcharge to finance installation of emergency call boxes.

Don Bailey, a Comarco vice president, said the selection of Comarco and Cellular in both counties gives the firms a valuable head start in an emerging national market for freeway call-box systems.

"With these two wins, it certainly establishes us as a leader in this marketplace," Bailey said. "You'd always rather be first in than second."

In Orange County, Cellular is the prime contractor and Comarco is a subcontractor. In San Diego County, the roles are reversed.

In both locations, Comarco will assemble the call boxes, which contain a circuit board engineered and manufactured by Comarco. Cellular, a unit of GTE Inc., is responsible for marketing and development.

Comarco said installation of the San Diego call boxes will begin within 90 days of the contract award and will be completed within a year.

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