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London, 16 May 2003: The GSM Association welcomes today’s news of the decision to build a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network in Iraq. The award of a contract to MCI clearly reflects recognition by the US Government of the value of GSM to Iraq’s integration with the rest of the region and the world.

The GSM Association has been working with the US Government, MCI and its suppliers to facilitate the rapid installation and operation of the GSM network to provide immediate support to reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in Iraq.

Welcoming the announcement, Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and member of its board said: “We are very pleased by this news, as we have been working with the US Government and MCI to provide GSM, and ensure that Iraq had the right technology for its people, compatible with the rest of the region and the world.”

“We stand ready to continue to support, assist and do all we can to aid the further development of Iraq’s mobile communications expansion,” he added.

There are already more than 60 million customers in 20 countries in the Arab world and this decision will help to ease Iraq’s re-assimilation into the region. Iraq will eventually join a global GSM wireless network with a community of almost one billion customers, marking another stage in the end of the isolation of the country and its people.

The GSM standard has grown exponentially since its introduction and is today the world’s leading global wireless standard. Indeed, since 1997, GSM has seen a staggering 10 fold increase in its worldwide customer base – across 195 countries of the world.

The decision to build a GSM network in Iraq means that its people will soon be seamlessly connected to neighbouring regions and the rest of the world.

“We must not underestimate the potential impact of rebuilding the communications infrastructure for the Iraqi people - the benefits will be immense in both the short and long term,” said Conway. “Whether it’s helping the many humanitarian aid workers, simply helping to reunite families and loved ones or improving regional and international communications, all of these benefits will help to boost the reconstruction efforts, and aid economic and social recovery.”

The news of the Iraqi GSM contract follows recent news that the U.S military is to make a substantial commitment to the standard by purchasing a number of complete GSM systems that will be deployed at a number of its establishments.

Ends

About the GSM Association:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the world's leading wireless industry representative body. It consists of more than 542 second and third generation wireless network operators and 136 key manufacturer and suppliers. The GSMA’s members work collaboratively to accelerate the implementation of collectively identified, commercially prioritised operator requirements. The Association’s members provide digital wireless services to more than 848 million customers in 195 countries of the world (end April 2003).

The GSM family of wireless communications platforms, including GSM, GPRS (General Packet Radio Services), EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) and W-CDMA account for approximately 72 percent of the total digital wireless market today. The GSM Association is a unique organisation, with truly global reach, offering a full range of business and technical services to its members. For more information, visit the website at www.gsmworld.com.

Contact Information:

Mark Smith
Communications Director
GSM Association
Tel: +44 207 518 0549
Fax: +44 207 518 0531
msmith@gsm.org


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