FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 1999
Commercial Wireless PCS Service Available in 3,500 Cities in 45 U.S. States, the District of Columbia and Four Canadian Provinces
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, May 10, 1999 -- The North American GSM Alliance LLC announced today that 3.6 million customers across the United States and Canada use Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) wireless digital phones.
"More than 600,000 new GSM customers were added in the first quarter of 1999," said Don Warkentin, Chairman of the North American GSM Alliance L.L.C., and President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications. "GSM service providers in North America now offer commercial service in about 3,500 cities in 45 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces."
According to Warkentin, in the past six months nearly 1.5 million customers have signed up for service with one of the 17 North American GSM companies providing commercial service. In addition, the total number of cities with active commercial service increased by 1,000 in the first quarter alone -- an equivalent of 11 new cities added daily.
"The world's wireless digital technology of choice is spreading quickly throughout North America. It is clear by its dramatic growth rate that consumers recognize the value of GSM's proven, feature-rich, digital service," Warkentin explained. "Thanks to the North American GSM Alliance, we provide our wireless customers with localized "home-town" service down the block, out-of-town, or internationally."
In the United States, seven of the top ten PCS carriers provide GSM service. Commercial GSM service soon will be available in the top 10 wireless markets, with eight markets already in service. GSM coverage now reaches 162 million of the people in North America -- covering more than 52 percent of the Canadian population and nearly 62 percent of the United States population.
Quickly building out their planned national coverage in the U.S. and Canada, GSM companies have installed more than 11,500 cell sites. In comparison, it took the entire U.S. cellular industry 10 years to reach that mark.
In addition to investing billions of dollars to establish their networks and launch their services, U.S. and Canadian GSM operators have created nearly 14,000 new direct jobs with an estimated 35,000 new workers involved in service, manufacturing and associated jobs.
"GSM's dramatic North American growth parallels the unprecedented surge in customers worldwide. In 1998 alone, 65 million customers signed up for GSM services -- that's nearly equal to the number of non-GSM wireless customers added in the U.S. in the past 16 years, or about three times the total of CDMA customers worldwide," Warkentin said. " GSM not only continues to lead CDMA, it's widening the gap."
At year's end, GSM customers totaled 160 million -- equal to 45 percent of the entire world wireless market, or 62 percent of the global digital market. The GSM Association today represents the interests of 347 GSM, Satellite and 3G network operators, regulators and administrative bodies from 133 countries and areas of the world.
The North American GSM Alliance L.L.C. is a group of North America's leading digital wireless Personal Communication Services companies. By using Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications technology, Alliance companies provide superior voice clarity, unparalleled security and leading-edge wireless voice, data and fax features for customers, whether at home, away 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.; STPCS Joint Venture, LLC; TWS, Inc.; Western Total Communications; Western Wireless Corp.; and Wireless 2000 PCS. The GSM Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Siemens, Motorola, Nortel Networks, Nokia and Ericsson.
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