FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
North American GSM Alliance Offers Helpful Tips to Global Roaming
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, April 4, 2000 - Are you about to take a business or vacation trip outside of North America and want to know the best way to stay in touch with family, friends and associates? The North American GSM Alliance LLC recommends you take along your Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications digital wireless phone.
More than 280 million people in 144 countries and areas of the world use GSM. The GSM standard now accounts for approximately 55 percent of the world's wireless market, and 65 percent of the total digital wireless market. In North America, GSM is widely available in more than 4,000 U.S. and Canadian cities in 46 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces -- adding five new cities each day -- in a coverage area populated by more than 180 million people. GSM is marketed throughout North America under a variety of carrier brand names, including Aerial, BellSouth Mobility DCS, Fido, Pacific Bell Wireless, Powertel, VoiceStream Wireless and others.
GSM is the leader and pioneer in global roaming, which enables customers from a wireless carrier in one country to make or receive calls on another company's network in another country as well as at home. Global roaming is made possible through technological, as well as operational, cooperative billing and service agreements between international carriers.
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.
"As part of the GSM Global Network, we believe that our customers deserve consistent. high-quality service when they travel in North America or any other country --- roaming on a GSM network," said GSM Alliance Executive Director Bob Brown. "With GSM roaming, many of the same advanced voce, text and data services available to you at home are available to you when using one of our roaming partner's networks abroad."
The GSM Alliance offers several tips for wireless phone users who are interested in having service that works in North America and abroad:
1. Sign up for wireless phone service with a GSM operator. Today, one out of 25 people in the world owns a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications phone. GSM is the world's fastest growing wireless digital phone technology.
2. Contact your GSM carrier to determine if the country you plan to visit is one of the many countries already available for global roaming. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, 23.1 million U.S. resident travelers visited overseas destinations in 1998. In the top overseas countries visited, the largest North American GSM operators all have roaming agreements with carriers there. If your GSM carrier doesn't currently have global roaming agreements, please be patient because new roaming access to countries is being added monthly.
3. Take advantage of GSM's global roaming options. GSM operates on the multiple spectrum frequency bands used around the world (900MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900MHZ, which is used in North America). GSM customers have the ability to operate on two or more of these frequencies by: purchasing a multi-band handset or using their GSM Smart Card in a rental phone.
4. If you choose to purchase a multi-band GSM handset, ask your carrier about the wide-range of models available that you can use at home and abroad. GSM offers the widest availability of multi-band handsets on the market. This wide availability of handsets from multiple manufacturers provides customers with additional benefits in terms of costs and services. Multi-band GSM phones include:
-- Bosch 718 (900/1900 dual-band);
5. GSM technology also offers another way to bring your local service and its advanced voice and data features with you when roaming abroad. The GSM Smart Card or SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) can be easily removed from your GSM phone and inserted into a rental GSM phone that operates on the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz frequencies. Your SIM stores all of your subscriber information as well as any personal information you may have programmed into it, you will notice very little change in your service.
According to the GSM Association, upwards of 500 million roaming calls are made every month on GSM networks around the world. In addition, each month more than 3 billion "G-Mails," text messages are sent over GSM digital wireless networks.
North American GSM Alliance members include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc.; BellSouth Mobility DCS; Conestoga Wireless Company; Cook Inlet VoiceStream Wireless PCS; DIGIPH PCS; Iowa Wireless Services, LP; Microcell Telecommunications Inc.; NPI Wireless; Omnipoint Communications LLC; Pacific Bell Wireless; Powertel, Inc.; STPCS Joint Venture, LLC; TWS, Inc.; Western Total Communications; 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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