17 April 2002
For some months now, Swisscom Mobile has been carrying out a PWLAN pilot test at three locations or so-called hotspots in Bern. The result of this was a high level of data security and network accessibility even under maximum load. In May 2002, Swisscom Mobile will launch an external pilot test which will involve providing around 20 locations across Switzerland with Public Wireless LAN (PWLAN). The commercial launch of PWLAN will take place later this year. It will then be possible for business travellers at roughly 100 projected locations in Switzerland to use broadband Internet to access their intranets (as long as this is supported by the company) and Office applications ? more than 10 times faster than with ISDN and at attractive prices. Swisscom Mobile will thereby be meeting an important requirement of business customers. Later on, PWLAN access abroad (roaming) will also become available. All that will be needed to use PWLAN will be a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or laptop with WLAN card plus activation of the service with Swisscom Mobile.
The locations to be provided with PWLAN include busy public areas such as airports, railway stations, conference centres and hotels. The PWLAN base stations installed there will enable connectivity to data networks at speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s. PWLAN is based on an existing technology for broadband data transmission in accordance with IEEE standard 802.11b. This is already successfully used at several thousand locations worldwide. Swisscom Mobile subscribers will be able to have PWLAN billed conveniently via their existing NATEL® access. Swisscom Mobile will offer alternative access to customers of other network providers and visitors from abroad.
"Public Wireless LAN is the ideal addition to UMTS, the third mobile generation," says Urs Schaeppi, Head of Connectivity Services at Swisscom Mobile. "In future, our customers will be able to use services on GPRS, UMTS and PWLAN irrespective of location and field of application. This will enable them to have secure data access at all times." PC cards supporting all three transmission technologies are expected for the launch of PWLAN at Swisscom Mobile. Swisscom Mobile is pressing ahead with development of its UMTS network ? around one billion francs are expected to be invested in this by the end of 2004.
The development of the Swisscom Mobile PWLAN network will also bring competitive advantages to managers of hotels, congress centres, trade fairs, etc.: by entering into a partnership with Swisscom Mobile, they will be able to offer their visitors and customers attractive value-added services and profit from Swisscom Mobile?s entire marketing activities. The partner incurs no investment costs for the installation of a hotspot, and maintenance costs are borne by Swisscom Mobile.
Bern, 17 April 2002