May 7, 1998
Number of Customers Closes In On 2 Million Mark
WASHINGTON, D.C., Thursday, May 7,1998 - GSM Alliance Chairman Don Warkentin today announced that 15 North American Personal Communication Service (PCS) operators using Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications now serve nearly 1.8 million customers in 1,430 cities in 40 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces. The total number of GSM customers worldwide stands at 82 million.
Warkentin, who is President and CEO of Aerial Communications, said that in the first quarter of 1998 the GSM service providers added 300,000 new customers and more than 500 new cities. In May 1997, there were 400,000 GSM customers and 323 cities that had commercial service.
"We will soon top two million customers in the U.S. and Canada," said Warkentin. "This achievement reflects both GSM operators' innovative pricing options, which the technology provides carriers, as well as the popularity of GSM's advanced wireless voice, short messaging and data services."
At the 39th GSM Plenary in Warsaw, Poland, last week, three U.S. companies, Cook Inlet Western Wireless, Wireless Telephone Company, and Personal Communications Network joined the GSM MoU Association. This raises the total to 23 of North American PCS carriers using or planning to use GSM. Cook Inlet Western Wireless also joined the GSM Alliance last week.
This brings the total global membership to a remarkable 293 GSM networks operators, administrators, regulatory bodies and satellite operators from 120 countries and areas of the world.
"With more than 70 international roaming agreements signed already by the Alliance, Mobile Satellite Service and new World Smart phones will give GSM customers the ability to use their service in places, no other wireless company can," said Warkentin. "At home, we see satellites providing Alliance members with instant national coverage."
Warkentin said the Alliance is especially impressed with Celsat, one of the U.S. companies seeking spectrum from the FCC, because their patented technology is particularly compatible with GSM. The Alliance filed comments in support of Celsat yesterday with the FCC.
GSM architecture supports full-featured, seamless roaming between GSM systems in North America. This inherent roaming capability allows operators to easily exchange common services, billing records and location information.
GSM carriers in North America have built nearly 8,000 cell sites in two years (that's three times as many as the entire U.S cellular industry built in its first years), and have created nearly 8,000 new jobs.
Members of the GSM Alliance include Aerial Communications, BellSouth Mobility DCS, Pacific Bell Mobile Services, Microcell Telecommunications, Omnipoint Communications, Powertel and Western Wireless. The Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel and Siemens.
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