Return to press releases

City of Westminster Connects Wirelessly to Improve Public Services

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - July 31, 2002 - Novatel Wireless, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVTL), a leading provider of wireless data access solutions, announced today that the City of Westminster has rolled out a mobile IT solution, powered by Novatel Wireless' Merlin G201TM Wireless PC Card Modem, to access real-time data, optimize performance and improve efficiency.

The City of Westminster is home to some of the most prestigious landmarks and districts in London, including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Mayfair, Oxford Street and Soho. Over one million people come into the City each day. It has also become the fastest growing residential area in the United Kingdom. This combination of massive commuter influx and a growing nighttime population places unique demands on the City's social services. To improve its efficiency and better serve its residents, the City migrated its entire legacy IT systems to a unified platform, starting in 1999. This improved efficiency but officers in the field, including its Street Environment Managers and Environmental Health Noise Teams, had no ability to access the City's IT network directly and were limited to using phones and handwritten notebooks to help make decisions outside of the office. The City believes that over 30 days per week were lost as officers returned to their office to update their systems and obtain critical information.

To address this issue, the City purchased Novatel Wireless' Merlin G201 Wireless PC Card Modems to enable secure, real-time wireless access to governmental databases at maximum speeds up to 53.6 kbps over GPRS and 14.4 kbps over GSM networks. With this robust wireless networking tool, officers can now access current and historical information in the City's databases, while making decisions in the field. Additionally, the new mobile solution allows them to operate more efficiently on a 24/7 basis, while continually updating the mainframe platforms and optimizing the distribution of information.

"Our officers in the field now have up-to-date information allowing them to make informed and well-balanced decisions," said Kevin Goad, business development manager of the City of Westminster. "We believe mobile access will not only improve services in the City of Westminster, but lower our cost of providing these services. We have found that even when accessing large downloads of data, the Novatel Wireless Merlin G201 performs admirably in the field."

Through mobile access, field officers are now able to:

  • Raise a complaint or inspection record at the physical location of any incident, and allow actions to be recorded and dates allocated to a diary for future visits or inspections
  • Allow officers to view the complete case history of a property in order to ascertain licensing issues, previous complaints raised and previous actions performed by an officer, which may now require escalation
  • Receive basic GIS functionality for street navigation and display of property and case information
  • View online documentation such as service procedures or statutory regulations
  • Review contractor schedules to determine whether a street's waste should have been collected or whether there may have been illegal dumping
  • Access officer diaries for job allocations

"The City of Westminster is at the forefront in implementing innovative mobile solutions to help provide better services for their residents and visitors," stated Owen Stephenson, vice president of GPRS for Novatel Wireless. "With the accelerating roll-out of 2.5G networks worldwide, we believe that corporations and institutions can benefit from high speed wireless connectivity to increase productivity, improve efficiency and minimize costs."


The Merlin G201 is a dual band (900/1800) wireless PC Card modem based on GSM/GPRS technology. Slightly larger than a credit card, Merlin G201 fits into a Type II PC Card slot and provides access to email, corporate databases and the Internet at maximum speeds of up to 53.6 kbps over GPRS and 14.4 kbps over GSM. Equipped with a robust removable antenna to enhance portability, the Merlin G201 provides Short Messaging Service (SMS) capabilities allowing users to send and receive text messages for quick person-to-person or group chats from their laptop or handheld device. The Merlin G201 offers voice capability over the GSM network allowing users to make and receive calls from a laptop or Pocket PC device. Merlin G201 is compatible with Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, Millennium Edition, XP and Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 operating systems.


GPRS is an exciting new wireless technology standard which has profoundly altered and improved the data services available over GSM-based wireless networks. An over-the-air system for transmitting data on GSM networks, GPRS technology converts data into standard Internet packets, enabling interoperability between the Internet and the GSM network, and providing the user with an "always on" experience. One of the key advantages of the GSM network is its international reach, giving consumers seamless service in over 170 countries around the world. This has been a vital driver in subscriber growth, leading to a current tally of over 645 million GSM subscribers worldwide, representing over 67% of all handsets.

GPRS wireless technology employs extensive authentication and encryption via standard GSM algorithms, making it one of the most secure public wireless systems in the world. The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM card), a key component of the GSM network, stores the authentication and encryption algorithms, making it virtually impossible for unauthorized users to capture and decipher messages.


Novatel Wireless, Inc. is a leading provider of wireless data modems and software for use with handheld computing devices and portable personal computers. The company delivers innovative and comprehensive solutions that enable businesses and consumers to access personal, corporate and public information through email, enterprise networks and the Internet. Novatel Wireless also offers wireless data modems and custom engineering services for hardware integration projects in a wide range of vertical applications. The Novatel Wireless product portfolio includes the Minstrel® Family of Wireless Handheld Modems, MerlinTM Family of Wireless PC Card Modems, Sage® Wireless Serial Modems, Lancer 3WTM Family of Ruggedized Modems and ExpediteTM Family of Wireless Embedded Modems. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Novatel Wireless is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq: NVTL). For more information, please visit the Novatel Wireless web site: or call 888-888-9231.

The Novatel Wireless logo, Merlin, Merlin G200, Minstrel, Sage, Lancer 3W and Expedite are trademarks of Novatel Wireless, Inc. Minstrel and Sage are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All other brands, products and company names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective holders.

This release may contain forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include risks relating to technological changes, continued acceptance of Novatel Wireless' products and dependence on intellectual property rights. These factors, as well as other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, are discussed in more detail in Novatel Wireless' filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies.

Talk to our experts!

Set your customers or business up with the fastest, easiest, most reliable fixed wireless solutions.