FCC Approves Creation of Nationwide GSM Carrier

FRAMINGHAM (03/31/2000) - U.S.-based international road warriors will soon have the opportunity to sign up for a nationwide cell phone network in the States that uses the same Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) international cellular standard adopted by 133 countries, thanks to a ruling yesterday by the Federal Communications Commission.

The merger of GSM-standard carriers VoiceStream Wireless Corp. in Bellevue, Wash., and Aerial Communications Inc. in Chicago will create a company that holds licenses for areas with population of more than 200 million people in the U.S. and will be "one of the largest entities in the world employing GSM technology . . . (and) further enable international roaming," the commission said.

The FCC also approved the transfer of cellular licenses held by Bell Atlantic Corp. and Vodafone AirTouch PLC in London into a new company, Cellco Partnership, that will result in the creation of another nationwide carrier.

Cellco, whose partners both use the CDMA cell phone standard, will become "one of the largest wireless providers in the country . . . serving more than 90 percent of the U.S., 49 of the top 50 wireless markets and 209 million people," the FCC said.

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