Novatel Wireless Extends GPRS Reach in Europe with Leading Operators
July 15, 2002
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - July 15, 2002 - Novatel Wireless, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVTL), a leading provider of wireless data access solutions, announced today that its Merlin G201TM Wireless PC Card Modem has gained operator certification from three independent mmO2 European operators in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. Combined these operators reach over 6 million subscribers. mmO2 (OOM: NYSE), is a leading provider of mobile communications services in Europe, under the O2 consumer brand, with access to a total population of over 141 million people.
O2 Ireland entered the Irish market as Digifone in 1997 and has grown its customer numbers to over 1.1 million with 40% the market share at 31 March 2002. O2 Ireland served 76 of the Business and Finance Top 100 Index and was the first Irish operator to provide GPRS to Corporate, SME and consumer customers.
O2 Germany, formerly Viag Interkom, launched mobile services in October 1998 and has achieved an estimated market share of 7%, approaching 4 million customers at 31 March 2002. The rapid construction of O2 Germany's GSM network is ongoing. Through a pioneering national roaming agreement with T-Mobil, O2 Germany offers service covering almost the entire German population. O2 Germany launched an operational GPRS network in January 2001, the first of any operator in Germany.
O2 Netherlands, formerly Telfort Mobiel, was the third operator to enter the Dutch mobile market, launching GSM services in October 1998. O2 Netherlands has a network covering over 97% of the population and, at 31 March 2002, had over 1.25 million customers. O2 Netherlands is a pioneer in the new development and innovation of mobile data services and O2 Netherlands was also the first operator to rollout and launch the GPRS network.
"The European market - and mmO2, in particular - has been the leader in the roll-out of advanced GPRS services and we will continue to partner with leading companies to expand our reach in this important market for our products," stated Owen Stephenson, vice president of GPRS for Novatel Wireless. "With partnerships with companies like mmO2, Dell and Hugh Symons, we are well established in the U.K. and these new certifications expand our presence to the Continent, greatly expanding our market."
ABOUT THE MERLIN G201
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 slides inside your Type II PC Card slot, providing access to email, corporate databases and the Internet at maximum speeds 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 enables 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.
With user-friendly wireless modem manager software, the Merlin G201 uses the familiar Microsoft dial-up connection that allows users to control their connection to the network providing one-step easy connection, saving battery life and time attempting to establish a connection while booting up or when network coverage is not available. Merlin G201 is compatible with Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, Millennium Edition, XP and Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 operating systems.
The Merlin G201 will offer standard GSM voice capabilities with an upgrade package, allowing calls to be originated on a laptop or handheld device. The user will be notified of incoming calls even when in a data session. The Merlin G201 upgrade package includes a wearable headset with differential audio for crisp, clear sound.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a packet switched wireless data network that allows for data to be sent and received using GPRS devices in a more cost efficient and quicker way than was possible over the GSM (Global System for Mobile) cellular system. Asia wireless users will enjoy data potential download rates up to 53.6 kbps over GPRS and up to14.4 kbps via circuit-switched data over GSM. The Merlin G201 GPRS Card operates over the 900/1800 MHz bands for coverage throughout Europe and Asia. GSM service providers around the world are aggressively enhancing their service capabilities through the support of GPRS for packet data.
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 Modules (SIM card), a component of the GSM network, stores the authentication and encryption algorithms, making it virtually impossible for unauthorized users to capture and decipher messages.
ABOUT NOVATEL WIRELESS, INC.
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: www.novatelwireless.com or call 888-888-9231.
The Novatel Wireless logo, Minstrel, Merlin, Merlin G201, 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.