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Press release

Swisscom Mobile and Option: world première in mobile data communications

03 June 2004

Swisscom Mobile is embarking on a new era of mobile data communications. In August Swisscom Mobile is launching a world first on the Swiss market: Mobile Unlimited. For the first time, a PC data card jointly developed with Option (OPTI) of Belgium supports all wireless data transmission technologies from GPRS to UMTS and WLAN. Swisscom Mobile NATEL® customers who subscribe to Mobile Unlimited can be connected automatically and securely to the fastest available broadband technology from any location. Mobile Unlimited is also the first product in the world to enable seamless handover i.e. automatic, uninterrupted switching between different types of transmission technologies. The card is offered by Swisscom Mobile under its own name, and its Seamless Handover technology is also being marketed internationally.

"More and more companies are finding that the ability to access their corporate network at any time and from any location, check e-mails, process orders and customer requests in real time, order spare parts, call up assembly diagrams, etc., is becoming a key criterion in the bid to stay ahead of the competition," says Carsten Schloter, Swisscom Mobile CEO. Users expect their mobile connection to be guaranteed 100%, wherever they are and whatever the available transmission technology. And they are not interested in having to make complicated settings on their own PC beforehand, thereby interrupting running applications.

 

Automatic selection of the fastest available technology

Mobile Unlimited does away with irritating, time-consuming PC chores. With no action required on the part of the user, Mobile Unlimited switches seamlessly from UMTS to GPRS or WLAN, automatically selecting the fastest transmission technology available in any given location. Customers purchasing Mobile Unlimited receive the Swisscom Mobile NATEL® data basic subscription, an Unlimited PC Card and a CD-ROM with the requisite Unlimited Data Manager software. From then on Mobile Unlimited takes over, ensuring secure, reliable connectivity for the user irrespective of time or location.

"Developing the hardware and software for Mobile Unlimited was a challenge," says Jan Callewaert, founder and CEO of Option NV, the Belgian company that jointly developed the new PC data card with Swisscom Mobile. "Integrating UMTS with GPRS and WLAN in such a small PC card and catering to Swisscom Mobile's requirements in terms of performance and user-friendliness, while simultaneously keeping to schedule, was no easy task. So I'm all the more delighted that it all worked out."

Mobile Unlimited offers transmission speeds of up to 384 kBit/s (UMTS) or 54 MBit/s (Public WLAN). For locations that currently offer only GPRS, transmission speeds between 30 and 40 kBit/s are available. By the end of 2004 Swisscom Mobile intends to have more than 800 WLAN Hotspots in operation and will cover 83% of the population with UMTS. Swisscom Mobile is investing some CHF 500 million in the mobile network in 2004 alone.

 

Standard price dependent on data volume

In terms of price, it makes no difference which technology Mobile Unlimited uses for data transfer. The price is indexed exclusively to the volume of data transferred. Customers can subscribe to different package sizes, e.g. 40 MB per month for CHF 70. The largest packages are based on the principle of  1 Megabyte for CHF 1. The subscription price can be adjusted every three months if the effective volume of data transmitted deviates from the agreed subscription volume. Tariffs are defined such that the average customer can enjoy the convenience of a mobile workspace for a monthly budget between CHF 80 and CHF 100.

Mobile Unlimited is ideal for self-employed persons and companies whose employees need to be able to access their private network irrespective of time or place. "That covers everything from one-man outfits to large international enterprises," says Carsten Schloter. Mobile Unlimited can be used on laptops with Type II PCMCIA slots, the Windows 2000 / XP operating system and 100 MB free hard disk capacity. Mobile Unlimited was comprehensively tested in the Microsoft software environment. The Office 2003 product family in particular supports the new form of mobility offered by Mobile Unlimited.

 

Available from August 2004 - also scheduled for international distribution

Technical development of Mobile Unlimited is now complete, and commercial mass production has begun. The product will be available from 30 August 2004 and can be used throughout the Swisscom Mobile network.

Swisscom Mobile also has high hopes of the international marketing potential offered by Mobile Unlimited technology. Carsten Schloter is convinced that "Automatic, seamless switching between different network technologies is a prerequisite for offering the mobile equivalent of the "always-on" experience that ADSL customers enjoy." The associated rights have been patented by Swisscom Mobile.

Zurich, 3 June 2004

Kontakt

Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern

media@swisscom.com