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AT&T Wireless Signs International Roaming Deals

AT&T Wireless - USA's third largest wireless corporation, Monday announced it signed more than 25 roaming agreements with international wireless providers, permitting its customers to use their cell phones in Europe and Asia. AT&T Wireless is constructing a new network in the United States based on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard - the dominant wireless protocol in the world. The company's current network infrastructure is based on the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) standard, which is used in only 10 percent of the world. AT&T Wireless said the flexibility of GSM provides a fast, cost-effective way of meeting and exceeding the growing voice needs of customers to reliably make, retain and receive clear sounding calls. GSM (Global Standard for Mobile Communications) is the most used voice technology in the world. GSM wireless carriers serve more than 70 percent of wireless voice customers worldwide. According to AT&T, the new agreements in England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain and Taiwan will allow their clients to use their handsets on GSM networks in those countries. High speed cellular data services will be provided only in countries where cellular carriers have GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), an advanced data-capable version of GSM that AT&T Wireless (and other US carriers) is also in the process of implementing. The company has already entered into a roaming agreement with Canadian wireless firm AT&T Rogers Canada. It has roaming agreements with Latin American countries for its TDMA network. According to AT&T, mobile phone maker Siemens AG will provide its first multi-band cell phone that works on TDMA, GSM and GPRS. The handset will be available next month in markets for about $199 and can be used anywhere in the world where a compatible network is present. AT&T has also signed an agreement with FedEx Express, a unit of the world's largest express transportation firm, FedEx Corp. (FDX), to combine FedEx's private wireless network with AT&T Wireless' GSM/GPRS network. The five-year agreement will allow FedEx Express couriers to have access to shipping information online in locations where the AT&T Wireless' GPRS network is deployed.

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