On Third Generation Wireless Standards
Washington,D.C. June 4, 1998 --- Don Warkentin, chairman of North American GSM Alliance L.L.C. and President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerial Communications, issued the following statement in response to hearings held today by the House Science Subcommittee on Technology.
The GSM Alliance was formed in August 1997, consisting of telecommunications providers offering new-generation wireless service known as Personal Communications Service (PCS) under the banner of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), the most widespread digital standard in the wireless industry. The GSM Alliance's goal is to provide members the benefits of a national network.
"Today's wireless marketplace in the U.S. has thrived with multiple competitors and multiple digital transmission standards.
"Most North American wireless service providers have chosen one of the three viable U.S. digital wireless standards that exist today to build and operate their networks. The resulting competition between these three U.S. standards has brought innovation in technologies, features and services, as well as lowered prices for consumers.
"Each of the three existing U.S. digital standards is evolving towards a third generation system that will allow global roaming, including high-speed data and Internet access, full-motion video and other sophisticated multi-media services.
"The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a part of the United Nations, is coordinating the process to establish a family of global third generation standards.
"The GSM Alliance supports multiple standards and the ITU's family of standards concept. We believe government should not favor one technology over the other -- in the U.S. or abroad. In terms of third generation, let the marketplace again decide on the technology of choice. Consumers will benefit as they have done today with lower prices, higher quality services, and improved features and benefits.
"With virtually all the North American wireless vendors manufacturing equipment for more than one of the three U.S. digital technologies, they are capable and willing to make what their customer, the wireless operators in the U.S. and abroad, want.
"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 in North America, with an estimated additional 20,000 related jobs involved in service, manufacturing and associated support. GSM manufacturers have facilities in a variety of U.S. locations including Raleigh, North Carolina, Richardson, Texas, and Lynchburg, Virginia. We support the U.S. Third Generation GSM standard proposal, and accept the idea of having multiple standards submitted to the ITU.
"Congress should not be misled. Attempts by others to force the combination of third generation technologies has nothing to do with benefiting the American consumer. It's all about protecting the second generation intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of some manufacturers. And it's about choosing the interests of those manufacturers over those of consumers.
"Our 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."
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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