FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 1999
NEW ORLEANS, LA, February 9, 1999 -- The North American GSM Alliance L.L.C. and the Universal Wireless Communications Consortium today announced an historic agreement, that will provide their more than 225 million wireless customers with access to virtually 100 percent of all coverage areas across all continents.
This unprecedented cooperative effort lays the groundwork for interoperability between Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) phones throughout the Americas and the world.
"The major benefits of this landmark agreement are three-fold. It will create a global footprint, enable a fully-integrated feature set of services across the two technologies, and provide a cost-effective way to meet the requirements of both customers and operators," said Bob Stapleton, President of Western Wireless, who spearheaded the effort for the GSM Alliance.
"Our agreement is consistent with the goal of both organizations to ensure that our current second generation wireless customers and investment are not stranded as we transition to 3G technology. The agreement covers network-to-network integration, terminal specifications and EDGE-GPRS Development," said Greg Williams, UWCC Chairman and Vice President - Wireless Systems with SBC Communications, Inc.
In addition to giving customers access to the two largest wireless footprints in the world, both groups are committed to work cooperatively for the acceptance of each other's Third Generation wireless RTT submissions to the ITU (W-CDMA and UWC-136). Both groups continue to support the view that multiple Third Generation standards are necessary to meet the distinct needs of customers and operators.
One significant benefit of the agreement is that it will enable wireless service providers from around the world to accelerate deployment of next generation, high-speed wireless packet data service features using EDGE and GPRS in both GSM and TDMA-based systems.
"Both organizations share a vision of 3G in which a common packet core network can be used with either UWC-136 or W-CDMA to provide high speed data services up to 384 kbps. This common objective offers an evolutionary pathway to worldwide interoperability for both voice and data for subscribers around the world." said Rod Nelson, Chief Technology Officer of AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., a member of the UWCC.
"This is exciting news for the industry as the North American GSM Alliance continues to work for the benefit of subscribers here and abroad. It dramatically expands the coverage area for members of both organizations. We will work together with the UWCC to gain the appropriate approvals with the GSM Association to advance interoperability standards and mutually beneficial commercial roaming agreements between member companies," stated Stapleton.
Williams stated, "To provide high speed data up to 2 mbps to meet IMT2000 Third Generation requirements, the groups continue to move forward with distinctly different IMT2000 submissions. TDMA and GSM are not merging to become one technology. We each have specific attributes that set us apart; however, where it makes sense to work together for the benefit of the consumer, the two organizations will cooperate on areas of convergence."
This understanding builds upon the cooperative agreement between the two organizations announced in September 1998. This new agreement reflects the shared vision of both organizations of a mobile terminal that supports both voice and data capabilities and would allow global roaming among GSM, TDMA and AMPS; all to benefit customers.
The UWCC is a consortium of over 100 telecommunications carriers and vendors of wireless products and services. The consortium is dedicated to supporting TDMA, a digital wireless air interface complemented by the Wireless Intelligent Network (ANSI-41). The UWCC is a limited liability company formed in Washington State in 1996. The UWCC Board Members include: Alcatel USA, Argentina TDMA Association, AT&T Wireless Services (USA), BellSouth Cellular Corp. (USA), Cellcom (Israel), Celumovil (Colombia), Compaq Computer Corporation, Ericsson Radio Systems, HongKong Telecom CSL (China), Hughes Network Systems, Industar Digital PCS (USA), Lucent Technologies, Mobikom SDN BHD (Malaysia), Motorola, Movilnet (Venezuela), Nokia Mobile Phones, Nortel Networks, Rogers Cantel (Canada), Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems (USA), Telecom New Zealand (New Zealand), VimpelCom (Russia).
The North American GSM Alliance, L.L.C. is a group of U.S. and Canadian digital wireless PCS carriers, which helps provide seamless GSM wireless communications for their customers, whether at home, in more than 2,500 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns, or abroad. GSM Alliance members include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc.; BellSouth Mobility DCS; Conestoga Wireless Company; Cook Inlet PCS; DIGIPH PCS; Iowa Wireless Services, LP; Microcell Telecommunications Inc.; NPI Wireless; Omnipoint Communications LLC; Pacific Bell Wireless; Powertel, Inc.; TWS, Inc.; Western Total Communications; Western Wireless Corp.; and Wireless 2000 PCS. The GSM Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel Networks and Siemens.
For Additional Information, Contact:
GSM Alliance: Mike Houghton +703 799 7383
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