Microcell Solutions Inc.(TSE:MTI.B)(Nasdaq:MICT), a leading Canadian provider of Personal Communications Services (PCS) operating under the Fido(R) brand name, today announced that it had signed an agreement with Novatel Wireless, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVTL), a provider of wireless data access solutions, to purchase Novatel Wireless' Merlin G100(TM) Wireless PC Card Modem for North American GSM/GPRS networks. This will be the first commercially available wireless PC card modem for GSM/GPRS networks in the Canadian market, allowing for new-generation data transmission speeds to wireless users.
"This agreement opens the door to a host of new, comprehensive data solutions aimed at mobile professionals and businesses of all sizes," said Fulvio Bussandri, president and chief operating officer, Microcell Solutions. "It stems from Fido's commitment to empower wireless business users by offering them advanced data services leveraging Microcell's fast and 'always-on, always connected' GPRS national network."
"Novatel Wireless is committed to working with industry leaders like Microcell to provide the most advanced solutions to ease customers' migration to GSM/GPRS wireless service," said John Major, CEO of Novatel Wireless. "With over one million customers, Microcell Solutions is a clear industry leader in PCS, the first Canadian company to offer GPRS wireless service and an excellent partner for future growth."
The Merlin G100 is the first GSM/GPRS PC Card that offers North American roaming, allowing customers to get the most out of their laptops and PDAs. Lightweight, compact and equipped with an antenna designed to maximize network coverage and enhanced portability, Novatel Wireless' Merlin G100 provides mobile connectivity for laptop users at speeds of up to 53.6 kbps using Microcell's new General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) network. The card enables mobile access to Internet, e-mail and corporate office tools at speeds up to three times faster than any other mobile wireless service currently available in Canada. It also includes Short Message Service (SMS) capabilities which enable the user to send and receive quick text messages for person-to-person or group chats from their laptop or PDA. It supports any Windows 98, ME, 2000 and Pocket PC computer equipped with a Type II PC Card slot.
Microcell is expected to make Novatel Wireless' Merlin G100 PC card available to its Fido customers in a few weeks, at a retail price of CAN $500. Monthly usage plans will include options at CAN $75 for 25 Mb, $100 for 50Mb and $150 for 100 Mb. A lower plan at $25 a month for 2Mb will also be available later this year to support a PDA offer. Customers can already reserve their GPRS PC card by calling Microcell's corporate sales. They will also be able to see the product on demonstration at the Comdex conference held in Toronto, July 11 through 13, at the Fido booth (booth 919, South Hall E).
GPRS is a packet switching technology for GSM networks. It is a method of transporting data that optimizes network capacity by using bandwidth only when needed. Several data transmissions from different users can share the same channel. The end result is a new generation of technology that allows end users to cost-effectively remain connected constantly, and to send and receive data at speeds much faster than those commercially available in the market today.
Recently Microcell announced that it had completed GPRS mobile data implementation on its national network, thereby becoming the first Canadian PCS operator to deliver commercial availability of the new generation of mobile data services across Canada and the United States.
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