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CHICAGO, IL, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 1998 - The North American GSM Alliance, a consortium of the seven largest North American wireless providers using Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), today added its voice in support of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) accord for next generation wireless systems recently approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

The agreement, reached by the world's leading telecommunications manufacturers and operators and ultimately endorsed by the worldwide wireless community, is an important step forward in providing the next Ð or third -- generation of wireless communications for people around the world.

UMTS is optimized for high-speed packet data-rate applications, including high-speed wireless internet services and other data applications.

"For North American GSM Alliance operators, UMTS offers the ability to supplement our current networks with new capability. It does not obsolete current networks which optimize for voice and lower-speed data applications," said Don Warkentin, chairman of the GSM Alliance and President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications. "UMTS can be used as an overlay to current networks, enabling GSM operators to add advanced services without major investment in our backbone networks.

"This development is particularly welcomed, because it can be based on a GSM platform," Warkentin explained. "UMTS which utilizes code division multiplexing, has been referred to as W-CDMA or TD-CDMA, It is important to note that this is a separate and distinct development from the IS-95 standard, commonly called CDMA in North America. UMTS is designed and will be produced by vendors supplying GSM equipment today, both here and abroad.

"GSM operators, in fact, are uniquely positioned to eventually adapt, deploy and integrate UMTS into their already feature-rich service," he said. "The businesses of today's GSM operators are enhanced by this development. With UMTS expected to be available in the next several years, GSM-based operators will be able to easily augment their current networks with this advanced wireless technology, bringing significant features and benefits to our customers and the marketplace.

"The potential of UMTS will be fully realized not only through the efforts of the manufacturers, but through the combined resources and creativity of more than 200 GSM operators around the world, who will help further deploy and refine this technological advance."

At the end of 1997, GSM technology served more than 66 million customers around the globe, or nearly one of every three wireless users worldwide. GSM is the world's leading digital wireless technology, adding a new customer every second.

Companies affiliated with the GSM Alliance currently serve more than 1 million customers and operate networks covering more than 130 million people in the U.S. and Canada. Members of the Alliance include Aerial Communication, Bell South Mobility DSC, Pacific Bell Mobile Services, Microcell Communications, Omnipoint Communications, Powertel and Western Wireless.

For Additional Information, Contact:

Mike Houghton
Ph: 703-799-7383
Fax: 703-799-5819
Email: [email protected]

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