FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nearly 800 GSM International Agreements Now Operational
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, March 31, 2000 - What continues to be the fastest growing digital wireless phone service in the world and the only one that can be used across five continents of the world? If you don't know, you can always use a lifeline, like on the "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" television quiz show, and call a friend.
It's likely that your friend will not only know the answer, chances are that he or she is one of the more than six million people in North America and 280 million worldwide who now own a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications phone. With more than eight million new GSM customers being added every month -- three new subscribers every second! - GSM is definitely the world's fastest growing wireless digital phone technology.
The GSM standard now accounts for approximately 55 percent of the world's wireless market, and 65 percent of the total digital wireless market. GSM has more customers than all other wireless standards of the world combined. It also means that one in every 25 people in the world have a GSM phone.
"In North America, GSM growth parallels the growing popularity of this digital technology worldwide," said North American GSM Alliance Executive Director Bob Brown. "Our member companies now offer service in more than 4,000 cities -- adding five new cities each day -- in a coverage area populated by more than 180 million people."
Brown said that one of GSM's biggest advantages is the ability to use your phone when traveling across town, country, and especially abroad.
"As part of the GSM Global Network, we believe that our customers deserve consistent. high-quality service when they travel in North America or any other country --- roaming on a GSM network," said Brown. "The wide availability of tri-band GSM handsets from multiple manufacturers (Bosch, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Siemens) provides customers with additional benefits in terms of costs and services."
The GSM Global Network spans 144 countries and areas of the world. Global roaming has been a major factor behind the success of the GSM standard. The GSM Association estimates that upwards of 500 million roaming calls are made every month on GSM networks alone. In addition, each month more than 3 billion "G-Mails," text messages are sent over GSM digital wireless networks.
To facilitate global roaming for North American customers, GSM Alliance member companies increased the number of international roaming launches by 69 percent in 1999 alone. Currently, the number of international roaming launches in North America is 772 - an increase of 553 since the beginning of 1999- with 150 international GSM operators in 71 countries.
"In addition to participating in a wireless communications task force to provide interoperability between GSM and TDMA digital technologies, the Alliance also fully supports the GSM Association's Global Roaming Forum's efforts to ensure collaboration and interoperability between GSM operators and operators of other technology standards (such as AMPS, TDMA, CDMA, iDEN)," Brown said. "However, we will continue to also aggressively expand our international roaming launches, so we can ensure GSM customers continue to always have the advantage of GSM to GSM roaming first."
North American GSM Alliance members include: Aerial Communications, Inc., Airadigm Communications, Inc.; BellSouth Mobility DCS; Conestoga Wireless Company; Cook Inlet VoiceStream Wireless 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; VoiceStream Wireless Corp.; and Wireless 2000 PCS. The GSM Alliance works in cooperation with North American GSM equipment manufacturers: Siemens, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, Nokia and Ericsson.
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