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September 21, 1998

North American GSM Alliance & InterDigital Communications Corporation Endorse Agreement to Merge W-CDMA/NA and WIMS W-CDMA Third Generation Wireless Proposals

Combined Proposal Aligns Two Technologies & Offers Greater Packet Data Capabilities As Compared to other Proposed 3G Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C., Monday, September 21, 1998 - The North American GSM Alliance LLC and InterDigital Communications Corporation (ASE:IDC) today announced that they endorse the decision to merge two of the U.S. Radio Transmission Technology (RTT) proposals submitted to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as candidates for Third Generation wireless standards.

Last Friday, the T1P1 and TR46.1 standards groups voted to merge the United States' W-CDMA/NA (W-CDMA North America) and WIMS (Wireless Multimedia and Messaging Services) W-CDMA proposals. This new aligned proposal offers enhanced data capabilities as compared to other proposed third generation technologies, such as enabling packet data to be delivered to up to ten times as many users.

The GSM Alliance submitted the WCDMA/NA technology, which mirrors the recent W-CDMA proposals submitted to standards bodies around the world, to the ITU. The GSM Alliance is a group of 12 U.S. and one Canadian digital wireless PCS (Personal Communications Services) carriers that provide wireless communications for their customers, whether at home in more than 1,500 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns, or abroad.

The WIMS W-CDMA technology was submitted to the ITU by AT&T Wireless Laboratories, Hughes Network Systems, InterDigital Communications Corporation, OKI America, and GoldenBridge Technologies. WIMS W-CDMA is supported by the TR46.1 standards group chaired by Dr. Donald J. Bowen of AT&T Laboratories and incorporates four key WCDMA/NA elements into its technology:

  • 4.096 Mcps chip rate
  • 10 millisecond frame length
  • support of the Adaptive Multi-rate Vocoder
  • support of asynchronous base stations

    "This harmonic alignment is the smart and efficient thing to do and is an example of a successful standards process. It improves an already superior W-CDMA technology, by incorporating the best aspects of both proposals - rather than diminishing it by forcing compatibility with second generation technologies," said North American GSM Alliance LLC Chairman Don Warkentin, President & Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications.

    "In fact, the gains achieved from this alignment with WIMS W-CDMA would be lost if the proposal was artificially forced to support legacy systems," he added.

    "This merger strengthens the United States' position in the international standards-setting process and offers a technology that allows the acquisition of packet data within 10 milliseconds, which is much faster than other proposed 3G technologies," said Brian G. Kiernan, Senior Vice President of InterDigital Communications Corporation.

    Both Warkentin and Kiernan said that this alignment shows how technological diversity has -- and will continue to -- foster variety in service offerings. Additionally, it allows the marketplace itself to determine the best Third Generation technology.

    They added that competition between multiple standards supports the best interests of wireless service providers, manufacturers, vendors, employees and most importantly, customers throughout North America and the world.

    The ITU, a treaty organization of the United Nations, is coordinating the worldwide process to establish a family of global Third Generation standards. The ITU's stated goal is to establish recommendations that will allow global roaming, including high-speed data and Internet access, full-motion video and other sophisticated multi-media services.

    Under this alignment, the enhanced W-CDMA/NA proposal, supported by the GSM Alliance and specified by the T1P1 standards committee will incorporate the following WIMS elements into its technology: use of multiple parallel orthogonal codes for higher data rates, and a new pilot/header structure enabling very rapid packet acquisition and release. This will improve data performance and throughput to address the growing marketplace and demanding requirements of multi-media and Internet based services.

    "As a result of these efforts, the synergy and commonality between the TR46.1 and T1P1.5 RTT proposals is clear," said Warkentin. Citing the significant commonality of key technical parameters of chip rate, frame length, asynchronous base station operation, and vocoders, among others, the GSM Alliance strongly endorses the merging of the two technologies. The Alliance said the alignment of the two technology proposals is a direct result of the cooperation and activities of the T1P1 Harmonization ad hoc group, the TIA 3G ad hoc and the US ITU-R TG 8/1 evaluation group.

    The new, aligned standard proposal increases data capacity ten-fold, and offers a unique and powerful North American solution to the ITU in looking at Third Generation digital wireless. The next step will be to work within the ITU consensus building process to align the merged proposal with those from ETSI in Europe and ARIB in Japan.

    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.

    InterDigital Communications Corporation develops and markets wireless telecommunications systems using proprietary technologies for voice and data communications. InterDigital, in conjunction with its strategic partners, Siemens AG, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Alcatel España, is commercializing its new B-CDMA technology for use in wireless communication systems and products. InterDigital®, B-CDMA(tm), TrueLink(tm) and UltraPhone® are among the trademarks of InterDigital Communications Corporation.

    For Additional Information, Contact:

    GSM Alliance:
    Contact: Mike Houghton - 703/799-7383

    InterDigital Communications Corporation:
    Contact: Sue Sutton/Blair Christie - 610/878-7800

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