FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cites Huge Growth in Customers, Coverage, Short Message Services, 772 roaming agreements in effect with GSM operators in 71 countries
SANTIAGO, CHILE, April 27, 2000 - In a report to more than 400 worldwide delegates at the GSM Association's 43d Plenary in Santiago, Chile, GSM North America Chairman Jim Murrell said the growth of Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications in the U.S. and Canada has skyrocketed.
"More than six million people in North America use GSM phones - that's a 100 percent increase in the past 12 months," said Murrell, who is Powertel's Vice President, New Business, and a member of the Management Committee of the North American GSM Alliance LLC. "In North America, GSM is widely available in more than 4,600 U.S. and Canadian cities in 47 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces -- adding five new cities each day -- in a coverage area populated by more than 180 million people."
Murrell serves as chairman of GSM North America, the regional interest group for the GSM Association. The world's leading wireless industry representative body, the GSM Association consists of 420 second and third Generation network operators, satellite operators, regulators, administrative bodies and, via Associate Membership, the key GSM manufacturers and suppliers of the GSM industry. Membership of the Association spans 144 countries and areas of the world.
In his report to the Association, Murrell noted that GSM's advanced features and services are also growing in popularity in North America. Murrell said that more than 50 million short text messages are sent monthly over GSM networks in the U.S. and Canada. He also reported that in the first quarter of 2000, GSM companies in North America added an estimated 600,000 new subscribers, and service expanded by 600 new cities and towns.
In the United States and Canada, the North American GSM Alliance LLC has made international roaming a priority. As a result, the number of operational roaming agreements between Alliance member companies and international roaming partners increased by 69 percent in 1999 alone. Currently, there are 772 roaming agreements in effect with 150 international GSM operators in 71 countries. This represents an increase of 553 since the beginning of 1999. Each month, international roamers spend a total of more than 6.4 million minutes on calls made in and out of North America.
"GSM is by far the leader and fastest growing wireless digital technology in the world. By the end of April, it is expected that there will be 300 million GSM customers - the equivalent of one in every 21 people in the world," said Murrell. "North America's accelerating customer growth and coverage expansion strongly reflects the worldwide appeal of the GSM Global Network."
GSM Global Network service is marketed throughout North America under a variety of carrier brand names. North American GSM Alliance member companies include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc.; BellSouth Mobility DCS; Conestoga Wireless Company; Cook Inlet VoiceStream PCS; DIGIPH PCS; Iowa Wireless Services, LP; Microcell Telecommunications Inc.; NPI Wireless; Pacific Bell Wireless; Powertel, Inc.; SOL Communications; Telemetrix Technologies; TWS, Inc.; VoiceStream Wireless Corp.; and Wireless 2000 PCS. The GSM Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Siemens, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, Nokia and Ericsson.
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