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PragoNet, a leading Czech Alternative Carrier, awards ECT
Major Contract for Complete Voice Infrastructure

After a thorough bidding process that included tenders for legacy public
switches and service platforms from major manufacturers, PragoNet, a member
of the Deutsche Telekom Group, selected the AutoCarrier( softswitching
technology of European Computer Telecoms AG (ECT) as the basis for both its
public exchange interconnection and intelligent value-added services.

Munich, August 8, 2001 - The European Computer Telecoms AG, a Munich-based
developer and manufacturer of next-generation softswitching technology, will
provide PragoNet with AutoCarrier softswitches to be used both as class 4
switches and as platforms for customised value-added services developed by
ECT. In the first stage of this project, scheduled for completion by
September 2001, the voice portfolio of PragoNet will include plain old
telephone service (POTS), primary rate subscriber lines as well as prepaid
telephone cards, free-phone and premium lines with network-based call centre
functionality and network-based fax services. ECT is providing all services
with customised web-based clients in Czech, allowing PragoNet business
customers to access and administer their own services directly via the
Internet. End customers will also be able to directly download the rated
call data records and statistical data on their usage and there is an
interface to SAP for the complete customer billing. In addition to being
PragoNet's only source for the complete switching technology, ECT project
management is supporting PragoNet with on-site consulting services on
product definition and business plan development, including the elaboration
of marketing strategies, customer tariffs, billing and the optimisation of
the return on investment (ROI).

Next-Generation Carriers Need Next-Generation Technology
PragoNet was founded in 1996 by the city of Prague and has its own modern
glass fibre network. Up until now, PragoNet has offered data services such
as point-to-point circuits, virtual circuits and IP virtual private networks
(VPN). Its customers include the city of Prague, federal bureaus, research
institutes and other Internet service providers. Due to the high number of
business subscribers, the Prague market is considered the main hub of the
Czech telecoms market. In order to enhance its portfolio to include voice
services, PragoNet required cost-effective and innovative public switching
equipment.

"We conducted a stringent selection process and examined switching solutions
from leading international players, before deciding to purchase ECT's
cutting-edge and highly-scalable technology. It is not only ideally designed
for integration in our state-of-the-art Internet and data infrastructure.
With the AutoCarrier softswitches, we also have one single platform both for
interconnection with the public network and customised intelligent
value-added services. Moreover, we are installing the switches and
implementing the voice services within just six weeks. We are convinced that
the strategic solution we're getting from ECT will be the basis for a
long-term cooperation," says Michal Hátle, general manager of PragoNet.
"We're delighted that PragoNet has chosen to go with our technology to
realise innovative voice products economically and with the attention to
practical details so essential for success. We at ECT are making sure that
ProgoNet is positioned to differentiate itself from all other competitors by
offering intelligent services available from no other carrier in the Czech
Republic. And these services will also allow PragoNet to acquire and retain
highly profitable business customers as well as tap new revenue sources not
accessible to other carriers with legacy switches," says Dr. Johan Lönnberg,
managing director of the ECT Sales and Service Centre in Vienna.


Czech Interconnection Certification No Problem for Softswitch
The Czech Republic requires that all switches interconnected with the public
network have official conformity certification according to the
worldwide-approved guidelines of the International Telecommunications Union
(ITU). The AutoCarrier softswitch had already passed conformity tests
conducted by T-Nova Deutsche Telekom Innovationsgesellschaft mbH in June
2000, laying the foundation for an interconnection certification in all
other European countries. A key prerequisite for this contract was
nonetheless the successful completion of interconnection testing for the
Czech Republic. Within only eight days of testing by Testcom, the Czech
certification authority, ECT passed with flying colours.


Eastern European Telecoms Predestined for ECT Technology

In the last two years, carriers in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland,
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Austria have
chosen the AutoCarrier for their switching and value-added services. With
the equipping of PragoNet, ECT is now expanding into the Eastern European
telecoms markets currently being de-regulated.

For many major carriers, like the Deutsche Telekom AG, the expansion into
the newly liberalised markets of Eastern Europe is of strategic importance,
whereby many gain access by purchasing the majority share of local carriers
like PragoNet. In these young markets, there is a particularly high demand
for ECT's infrastructure technology and value-added services because they
are highly innovative, low-maintenance and can be delivered and commissioned
within only a few weeks of purchase. Due to the fact that the AutoCarrier
can be utilised both as a class 4 switch and a platform for value-added
services, carriers also avoid the high costs and long implementation times
for the intelligent network (IN) technology used in conventional networks
for value-added services.

ECT is directly targeting Eastern Europe and has made its Sales and Service
Centre in Vienna the gateway to these dynamic new markets. As Dr. Lönnberg
sums it up: "ECT has the ideal technology for markets currently being
liberalised. Our 'pay-as-you-grow' policy makes it easy for new carriers to
offer highly sophisticated voice services without horrendous investments -
and it underscores the ECT commitment to the success of our customers. Even
while we are completing this major project in the Czech Republic, we are
preparing our entrance into the Polish and Hungarian telecoms markets where
we will soon be completing interconnection testing and equipping alternative
carriers."

David Reeks

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8996 4136
Fax: +44 (0) 20 8996 1236
Email: davidr@text100.co.uk
Mobile: +44 (0) 7974 161161

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