FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 1998
Not To Abandon Multiple Standards Position
For Third Generation Wireless
Disadvantage GSM Carriers, Customers in North America
CHICAGO, IL., Wednesday, June 24, 1998 - The North American GSM Alliance LLC, a consortium including 12 U.S. digital wireless Personal Communications Services (PCS) carriers, today warned the Federal Communications commission (FCC) against efforts to politicize the third generation wireless services standard-setting process.
Manufacturing proponents of a competing third generation technology, for no other reason than their own self-interest, have asked the State Department and the FCC not to include W-CDMA in the U.S. submissions to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as a potential third generation wireless standard.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Bill Kennard, the GSM Alliance urged the FCC to stand by its pro-competitive principles, and to continue to support multiple wireless technologies:
"The U.S. members of the GSM Alliance obtained their licenses through the FCC's auction process at great expense. We then invested, and are continuing to invest, billions of dollars in building our networks. If the U.S. supports competing Third Generation technologies in the ITU - but not the W-CDMA technology that is both compatible with our existing networks and best for our customers - it will undermine the value of the enormous investments made by Alliance members," said GSM Alliance Chairman Don Warkentin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications.
"This would be an abuse of governmental power. To be blunt, the Department of State and the FCC have no business tilting the competitive playing field by favoring one U.S. company over another U.S. company investing in another technology."
Warkentin said the GSM Alliance's position is simple: "Let the competitive marketplace decide. In that way, the American consumer will again benefit with higher quality service, increased capabilities and lower prices. Technological diversity has and will continue to foster variety in service offerings, allowing customers, not the government, to determine which is the best Third Generation technology."
Warkentin added the GSM Alliance is on record expressing its support for multiple standards in the U.S. and abroad. He added that, "the FCC has consistently made the right pro-competitive choices, it should not now abandon its principles in the face of political pressure from manufacturing interests."
"Make no mistake about it. The suggested move to prevent the Third Generation GSM (W-CDMA) proposal from being submitted to the ITU is not about protecting American interests," Warkentin warned. "It's about supporting the financial interests of a favored few manufacturers over those of the American consumer, the 12 U.S. GSM carriers and the larger group of disfavored manufacturers." With more than 2 million customers in nearly 1,500 cities in 41 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces, GSM active markets already cover nearly 60 percent of its North American footprint (260 million POPs). The GSM Alliance network is one of the fastest growing wireless networks worldwide and has achieved a 3 percent penetration rate in less than two years. More than 20 North American PCS operators plan to deploy GSM.
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, with an estimated additional 20,000 new employees involved in service, manufacturing and associated jobs.
The 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 nearly 1,500 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns, or abroad. Using Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications, GSM companies provide superior voice clarity, unparalleled security and leading-edge wireless voice, data and fax features for customers.
GSM Alliance members include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc.; BellSouth Mobility DCS; Conestoga Wireless Company; Cook Inlet PCS; DIGIPH PCS; Microcell Telecommunications Inc.; NPI Wireless; Omnipoint Communications LLC; Pacific Bell Mobile Services; Powertel, Inc.; Western Wireless Corp.; and Wireless 2000 PCS. The GSM Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel and Siemens.
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