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'Multiple Standards, Multiple Competitors, Multiple Benefits'
FCC's Framework Helps Stir U.S. Wireless Competition

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, May 14, 1998 --- Don Warkentin, chairman of North American GSM Alliance L.L.C. and President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications, issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) announcement today of its "Third Annual Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) Competition Report" to Congress.

GSM Alliance Statement:

"Competition is alive and well in the wireless industry. And it is due in great measure to the decisions of the FCC to foster competition through the introduction of new Personal Communications Services licenses. The introduction of multiple competitors and the choice of multiple standards have translated into multiple benefits for American consumers.

"FCC rulemaking enabled Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) to be offered in the U.S. competing with two other viable digital standards (CDMA and TDMA). GSM has taken the lead in introducing a wide range of innovative services and functions, such as integrated voice mail, high-speed data, fax, paging and short message services capabilities.

"The FCC did not support one technology over the other; it properly let the marketplace decide. The resulting competition among technologies has brought innovation in features and services, as well as lower prices. For example:

  • PCS entry into markets has stirred cellular incumbents to accelerate digital deployment and introduce new services and more aggressive pricing plans. Competition has resulted in price declines of 16.5 to 20.3 percent. In Philadelphia, one operator's low-end prices are 59 percent lower than cellular .(Robinson-Humphrey Co. L.L.C.) The Yankee Group reports PCS carriers prices on average are 20 percent lower than analog carriers. In one case - the Tampa, Florida, market - the cost of an average 400-minute a month price plan declined 40 percent during the latter half of 1997 due to competitive pricing in that market. (BT, Alex Brown Research.)

  • "PCS carriers also are helping to grow and shape the market by offering value and innovation. For many operators, a substantial portion of their initial customers are new to the category, never having owned a wireless phone. And what's even more encouraging is that a growing number of customers are using their wireless phone as their primary phone. With the FCC continuing to press its pro-competitive agenda, we can expect PCS to become increasingly competitive with traditional local wireline operators.

  • "With nearly 2 million customers in about 1,500 cities and towns throughout 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, GSM active markets already cover nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population (260 million POPs). The GSM Alliance network also is one of the fastest growing wireless networks worldwide and has achieved a three percent penetration rate in less than two years.

  • "GSM operators, in addition to investing billions of dollars to establish their networks and launch their services, have created nearly 8,000 new direct jobs in North America, with an estimated additional 20,000 related jobs involved in service, manufacturing and associated support. GSM manufacturers have facilities in a variety of U.S. locations including Raleigh, N.C., Richardson, Texas and Lynchburg, Va.

  • "Finally, GSM licensees, because of the inherent characteristics of the technology, entered the North American market with distinct advantages in advanced features and functionality. While we retain many advantages, these offerings have spurred other carriers and technologies to introduce similar features. The end result is more features and greater choice for consumers.

    "The members of the North American GSM Alliance firmly believe we are leading the way to realizing the vision of true competition that the FCC had when it originally granted PCS licenses. In the wireless industry, free market forces and the FCC's enlightened policy of creating competition by allowing choice and foregoing mandated technology, have worked. They have combined to bring more choice, better services and lower prices to consumers. We believe this approach should remain in force, allowing operators and consumers to compare and choose among technology standards and services."

    North American GSM Alliance, L.L.C. is a consortium of U.S. and Canadian digital wireless PCS carriers that includes: Aerial Communications, Inc., BellSouth Mobility DCS, Cook Inlet PCS (Voicestream); Microcell Telecommunications Inc., Omnipoint Communications, LLC, Pacific Bell Mobile Services, Powertel, Inc., and Western Wireless, Corp.

    For Additional Information, Contact: Mike Houghton, 703-799-7383

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