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Technology

 January 07, 2000
MICROCELL CONNEXIONS LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL ROAMING WITH CHINA

 Canadian wireless customers can now use their Personal Communications Services (PCS) in 31 provinces and in all major cities in the People's Republic of China. Microcell Connexions Inc., Canada's only operator of a wireless network based on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) standard, today announced the commercial implementation of two-way roaming with China Mobile Communications Corp. (China Mobile). Customers of all service providers using the Microcell Connexions network can now visit China and be reached at the same phone number they use at home.
"China's importance as a trading partner continues to grow, and the country is rapidly becoming a key market for many Canadian corporations and entrepreneurs," noted Mr. Rajiv Pancholy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Microcell Connexions. "In addition, there are many, many Canadians with family ties to China. Our agreement with China Mobile makes it easy and convenient for Canadians to stay in touch while travelling in China - for business or for pleasure."
China is one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world. In October 1999, the international GSM Association noted there were more than 30 million customers of GSM services in China - making it the world's largest GSM market - and more than one million customers were being added each month.
Establishing roaming in China is the latest milestone in Microcell Connexions' ongoing commitment to expand the reach of its wireless network. In less than three years, Microcell Connexions has deployed a digital network directly covering 53% of Canadians, and it has agreements with cellular operators that expand coverage to 94% of the Canadian population. At the same time, the company has negotiated and implemented international roaming agreements with 120 network operators in the United States and in more than 60 other countries.
With Canada's only GSM network, Microcell Connexions offers its service providers the easiest, most affordable solution to international roaming. This is possible because only those service providers in Canada that use the Microcell Connexions network employ the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) or smart card. This card, about the size of a thumbnail, stores information about the customer's subscription and customized services, as well as their phone number and personal phone directory.
Mr. Pancholy added that GSM networks are at the forefront of international roaming. "GSM networks use a SIM card, which makes roaming straightforward and affordable. Customers can use all of their digital services, and be reached at their usual phone number, no matter where they are."
"Now, Microcell Connexions extends that ease of use and affordability to China," Mr. Pancholy concluded. "Customers on our network simply insert their SIM card into an appropriate handset, and they are ready to start talking."