National Wireless Alliance Signs Volume Contract With ITN For Roaming

May 6, 1996

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National Wireless Alliance Signs Volume Contract With ITN For Roaming

Primeco Is First Major PCS Carrier

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- The national wireless alliance of AirTouch Cellular (AirTouch Communications NYSE: ATI), Bell Atlantic (NYSE:BEL), NYNEX (NYSE:NYN) and U S WEST NewVector Group (NYSE:UMG), as well as PrimeCo Personal Communications, signed a bulk contract with Independent Telecommunications Network Inc. (ITN), to provide Signaling System 7 (SS7) seamless roaming and enhanced call setup capabilities that make it faster and easier for wireless customers to use their phones nationwide.

This contract marks a renewal and expansion of ITN's separate contracts with each cellular carrier to provide IS-41 transport. "Through joint purchasing the alliance members will realize roughly a 15 percent savings because of the contract volume," said Lee Cox, vice chairman of AirTouch Communications and president and chief executive officer of AirTouch Cellular. "This contract, like previous handset and equipment purchases, demonstrates the economies of scale we have created through our alliance."

This agreement also makes PrimeCo Personal Communications the first major Personal Communications Services carrier to select a network services provider. "The ITN network will facilitate roaming among our 11 major markets, enabling customers to use their phones the same way they do in their home markets," said Ben Scott, CEO of PrimeCo Personal Communications. PrimeCo plans to launch service before year end.

"ITN has provided Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile with quality network transport services for several years," said Tony Malone, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile Executive Director of Network Planning and Administration. "Now these same services will be expanded to PrimeCo at a lower cost."

ITN will provide Interim Standard 41 (IS-41) transport and Integrated Services Digital Network User Part (ISUP) trunk signaling for alliance members over the ITN SS7 network. IS-41 is the industry standard for cellular switch interconnection and signaling that provides both high speed and reliability.

Widespread use of IS-41 signaling has made seamless roaming a reality, and allows wireless customers to receive calls automatically without the use of special codes. It also brings customers the use of the same home market features, such as call forwarding, when roaming.

ISUP is the call control part of the SS7 signaling that establishes procedures for setting up, coordinating, and taking down calls using SS7 networks instead of voice trunks. Customers benefit in two ways: first, call setup -- the time required for the phone to ring after a caller presses the send key -- is faster, and second, voice trunks have additional capacity due to more efficient utilization.

"We are especially pleased these industry leaders have placed their confidence in ITN to help them grow in the rapidly evolving wireless telecommunications market," Ray Donnelly, vice president - Marketing and Sales for ITN, said. "This is a significant piece of business for us."

The four-way wireless alliance was formed by AirTouch Communications, Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and U S WEST in October 1994, to create the broadest market coverage in the industry. The partners formed PrimeCo Personal Communications, which successfully bid $1.1 billion for new PCS licenses in 11 major cities.

Combined, the wireless alliance players serve nearly seven million domestic customers, operate in 19 of the top 20 U.S. markets, and cover a population base of nearly 170 million in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The new contract with ITN positions this alliance to eventually facilitate seamless nationwide roaming between its 800 Mhz and 1900 Mhz markets. As the Cellular Services Network provider for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, ITN serves A and B side cellular carriers.

In February, ITN merged with US Intelco Holdings Inc., to form USTN Holdings Inc. Together, ITN and US Intelco are the nation's premier independently owned providers of SS7 network, data base, and message aggregation services, serving more than 1,000 wireline and wireless telecommunications carriers throughout North America.

NYNEX is a global communications and media company that provides a full range of services in the northeastern United States and high-growth markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, Thailand, Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The Corporation is a leader in the telecommunications, wireless communications, cable television, directory publishing and entertainment and information services.

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