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Press release

Withdrawal from satellite communication business

28 March 2000

Ende des Jahres 2001 gibt Swisscom die Satelliten-Kommunikation über die eigenen Bodenstationen in Leuk, Zürich, Basel und Genf auf. Die Gründe für den Ausstieg liegen im raschen Wandel in Technologie und Märkten der Telekommunikation: Die internationalen Telecom-Dienste werden heute mit Vorteil über andere Medien oder mit dem Einkauf von Dienstleistungen anderer Unternehmen angeboten. Der Ausstieg ermöglicht Swisscom eine Konzentration auf das Kerngeschäft in der Schweiz, Europa und Nordamerika.

At the end of 2001 Swisscom will abandon satellite communication via its own ground stations in Leuk, Zurich, Basle and Geneva. The reasons for pulling out are the rapid changes in telecommunications technology and markets: international telecoms services can today be provided more economically using other media or through buying services from other companies. The withdrawal will enable Swisscom to concentrate on its core business in Switzerland, Europe and North America.

Swisscom has operated various satellite ground stations for 25 years (Leuk, Zurich, Basle and Geneva). Operating these direct links with European and intercontinental destinations was for a long time the most economical solution.

Telecommunications technology and markets have changed considerably in recent years. Today it is much more cost-effective to handle international and intercontinental traffic via alternative media such as undersea cable or by buying services from other providers. Fibre-optic cable today enables huge amounts of data to be transmitted in short periods of time and at reduced cost. The large distances covered via satellite communication, on the other hand, result in communication delays, which have a negative effect on phone conversation, for example. The percentage of intercontinental traffic that can be handled only via satellite is today no more 1% of total international traffic.

Swisscom estimates that the withdrawal will result in cost savings of around CHF 100 million over the next ten years. The ground stations will be sold or dismantled. The decision to pull out will not effect Swisscom´s ability to provide customer services.

The withdrawal from the satellite business will affect 41 employees, for whom a severance deal will be worked out.

Berne, 28 March 2000


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern