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Chairman of GSM North America's Standards Working Group
Sets the Record Straight About Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA)

WASHINGTON, DC, May 13, 1998 - Gary Jones, the chairman of GSM North America's Standards Working Group, today set the record straight about recent proposals to combine third generation wireless technologies. Jones, a director of standards policy for Omnipoint Corporation, participated in a roundtable discussion at an U.S. Department of Commerce conference on "Opportunities and Challenges in the Global Wireless Marketplace."

"Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications operators in North America support multiple vendors, competitors and standards," Jones explained. "Our position is let the marketplace decide. In that way, the American consumer will benefit with higher quality service, increased capabilities and lower prices."

Jones explained that there are three digital wireless standards that exist today in North America. Most wireless operators have chosen one of these in building out and operating their networks. He said the resulting competition between these three viable standards has brought innovation in technologies, features and services, as well as lowered prices.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a part of the United Nations, is coordinating the process to establish a family of global third generation standards. The organization plans to establish standards and specifications that will allow global roaming, including high-speed data and Internet access, full-motion video and other sophisticated multi-media services.

GSM North America, the North American Interest Group (NAIG) of the GSM MoU Association and the GSM Alliance, a consortium of U.S. and Canadian PCS carriers, recently announced their overwhelming support of Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) as the radio technology for one of the proposed new international third generation wireless standards.

"At the radio interface level, Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) technology is being evaluated, along with other proposals such as wideband cdmaOne, an outgrowth of Interim Standard-95 technology. While the names are similar, it's important to note that W-CDMA is a separate and distinct development from the current narrowband cdmaOne standard," Jones said.

Proponents of cdmaOne have proposed combining the technologies. GSM North America said it will support the best technology choices and any demonstrable improvement to Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA). However, GSM operators say they are opposed to the cdmaOne proposal because these changes would cause a significant degradation in system capacity, affect additional capabilities, performance and probably raise the price to customers.

"Combining third generation technologies is about limiting the capability of a new technology. It's designed to protect the second generation Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of some manufacturers. And it's about choosing the interests of manufacturers over those of consumers," said Jones. "The difference in philosophy is whether to revolutionize wireless radio or preserve second generation artifacts."

Jones explained that combining the technologies is not about establishing a single, world standard. All three second generation digital wireless technologies in North America are evolving to third generation technologies that will best fit their networks.

"Virtually all the vendors manufacture equipment for all three North American technologies. And these manufacturers will supply what the customer wants. Their customer -- wireless operators --will select the technology that offers the best value and services to their subscribers," added Jones.

Further, he said the marketplace will dictate the deployment of third generation wireless services. The decision not to make Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) more like cdmaOne will not delay deployment. Jones said the GSM community is committed to the ITU schedule of system description for evaluation by June 1998,h system specifications by the end of 1999, and a deployable system by 2001.

"Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) was designed for high-data throughput with enhanced spectrum efficiency by making good technical choices," said Jones. "It's been developed over five years, with full participation from the industry and all inputs were considered."

According to Jones, several standards bodies around the world have already endorsed Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) as a choice for third generation technology. He said the GSM North America operators are open to substantive, meaningful recommendations to make Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) stronger, but we simply can not support any changes that weaken the value of these services in the U.S. and Canada. Especially if these changes are not mutually beneficial to all parties involved and have a negative impact on our customers. GSM North America, a consortium of leading Personal Communications Services (PCS) providers in the United States and Canada, is the North American interest group for the GSM MoU Association. Formed in 1995, GSM North America brings service providers and equipment manufacturers together to identify and resolve issues related to making GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) the premier PCS digital technology.

GSM carriers in North America currently providing commercial service include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc. (Einstein), BellSouth Mobility DCS, Conestoga PCS, Cook Inlet PCS, L.P. (VoiceStream), DIGIPH Communications, Microcell Telecommunications Inc. (Fido), Northern Michigan, NPI Wireless, Omnipoint Communications, Inc., Pacific Bell Mobile Services, PCS One, Powertel, Inc., South East Telephone, Sprint Spectrum, Third Kentucky Cellular Group (Wireless 2000 PCS), and Western Wireless Corp. (VoiceStream).

North American GSM Alliance, L.L.C. is a consortium of U.S. and Canadian digital wireless PCS carriers, which helps provide seamless wireless communications for their customers, whether at home, in more than 1,000 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns, or abroad. Using Global Systems for Mobile (GSM) communications, GSM companies provide superior voice clarity, unparalleled security and leading-edge wireless voice, data and fax features for customers. Current members of the GSM Alliance now include: Aerial Communications, Inc., BellSouth Mobility DCS, Cook-Inlet Western Wireless; Microcell Telecommunications Inc., Omnipoint Communications, LLC, Pacific Bell Mobile Services, Powertel, Inc., and Western Wireless, Corp., which continue to operate their own businesses and market under their own names.

For Additional Information, Contact:

Mike Houghton
[email protected]

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