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 BEDMINSTER, N.J., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A laptop computer can be an office-away-from-home. You can work on a memo or spreadsheet and flash that document back to a co-worker, or send and receive faxes, or pick up an urgent e-mail from the boss.
 All this is possible -- if you have a communications link. Too often, though, you need these capabilities in an airport, in a hotel room where the phone is hard-wired into the wall, in a train or cab, or at a client's office.
 To provide that missing link for a host of data devices, Bell Atlantic Mobile today announced the Bell Atlantic(R) AirBridge(TM) family of wireless data services.
 The AirBridge family comprises four data services, each designed for a specific set of applications.
 -- AirBridge Fax: Permits transmission of text and images to and from mobile facsimile machines. Fax is currently available in all Bell Atlantic Mobile markets.
 -- AirBridge Circuit-switched Solutions: Customized service plans and data transmission over the existing cellular network for telemetry, remote e-mail, package tracking, or other uses. Available in all BAM markets.
 -- AirBridge Gateway service: A cellular-switch-based "modem pool" that virtually eliminates incompatibility problems between remote cellular modems and host landline modems. Service is available today in Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore, and will be in BAM's remaining regions in the first quarter of 1994. It's being demonstrated at Wireless Datacomm '93 in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7 and 8.
 -- AirBridge Packet service: Will transmit "bursts" or packets of data at high speed, inserted before and after cellular voice conversations, using cellular digital packet data (CDPD) technology. AirBridge Packet will be available in all BAM regions in 1994. It is also being demonstrated at Wireless Datacomm '93.
 "Thanks to portable computing devices, previously desk-bound 'office workers' are becoming both more mobile and more data-reliant. At the same time, the availability of wireless data service is causing a revolution in the way we do business. Providing users with a range of application-specific solutions will further fuel the growth of wireless data," said Benjamin L. Scott, Bell Atlantic Mobile executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We believe that in a few years, the volume of data communications could rival that of voice on our network."
 Today only about 3 percent of cellular traffic is data, but industry sources say there could be as many as 48 million mobile workers in the United States, who could create as large as an $8 billion to $10 billion dollar industry nationwide by the year 2000.
 Applications run from wireless electronic mail and personal digital assistants to fleet management, wireless alarm systems, and telemetry.
 Bell Atlantic Mobile will support its data offerings in a number of ways. Sales representatives are receiving extensive training in data solutions, and can offer customers a wide range of equipment. A "help desk" is available to answer users' questions about data services.
 "Bell Atlantic Corporation has been very vocal about its plans to lead the Information Revolution. Bell Atlantic Mobile's wireless services are a core element of that strategy. Our commitment to data is making the corporation's vision a reality that much sooner," said Scott.
 Bell Atlantic Mobile's cellular operations constitute the largest carrier on the East Coast and one of the largest carriers in North America, serving a total population of 35 million. Bell Atlantic Mobile provides cellular service and equipment in Washington, D.C., and 15 states in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas, and the Southwest. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., the cellular communications divisions are subsidiaries of Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL).
 (See sidebar for more details on the introduction of Bell Atlantic(R) AirBridge(SM) Gateway service.)
 Sidebar: Laptop Users Get "Plug-and-Play" Solution
 with Bell Atlantic(R) AirBridge(SM) Gateway Service
 Today's cellular network can already send many kinds of data -- between fax machines or from a remote device to a dedicated host, for example. But when a landline host computer modem doesn't recognize a remote cellular modem's protocols, sending data can be like ordering a meal in an unfamiliar language -- what gets delivered to the table may or may not be what the customer had in mind.
 One solution is to replace the host computer modem with a cellular modem, which can be costly or even impossible (if, for example, you're dialing into a public data base). But now Bell Atlantic Mobile customers can easily connect portable computers or other data devices to landline-based computers via cellular, using Bell Atlantic(R) AirBridge(SM) Gateway service for modem or "dial-up" wireless data transport.
 The service had a limited commercial introduction today in Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore. Currently, it is available only through BAM's national and government account representatives, but will be generally available in all of the company's seven regions nationwide in the first quarter of 1994.
 AirBridge Gateway's "circuit-switched" technology is what most portable computer users are familiar with -- using a single voice channel to transmit data to another location. That's normally done by plugging a PC and modem into a landline telephone jack.
 However, standard landline modems don't work well on the cellular network, a problem overcome by newer cellular modems incorporating protocols (data communication languages) designed to maintain high-speed connections over the wireless link.
 Bell Atlantic Mobile's gateway service provides protocol conversion between a portable computer's modem (using a cellular protocol such as MNP10 (Note A)) and a host computer's modem (using current industry standard landline protocols), allowing the two to converse error-free. Since Bell Atlantic Mobile performs the conversion at its switch, a customer need only ensure his remote modem supports a cellular protocol. The host computer doesn't need to be modified in any way.
 The MNP10 cellular protocol is being supported initially. BAM plans to add additional cellular protocols, such as AT&T Paradyne's ETC, to AirBridge Gateway in the near future. The service currently supports the Microcom Microport 4232bis modem and two integrated cellular phone modems, the Audiovox CDI-1000 and the Mitsubishi CDL. These products may be purchased through BAM.
 Bell Atlantic Mobile has also tested several communications software packages and will supply AirBridge Gateway customers with the appropriate AT command strings to instruct the modem to use the MNP10 protocol -- something not presently built in to most communications software packages on the market. Packages tested by BAM include Microsoft Mail Remote(A), CC:Mail(A), Procomm Plus(A), PC Anywhere(A), Carbon Copy(A), CompuServe Information Manager(A), and Crosstalk(A).
 "This `plug and play' solution means a cellular customer can add a cellular modem to his own computer and use data on the go as easily as at the office," said Benjamin L. Scott, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
 AirBridge Gateway service costs $2.95 a month for access, which will be charged only if used in a given month. There is no sign-up charge or additional airtime fee over normal usage charges. In addition, roamers can use the service for only their regular roaming fees.
 (A) -- MNP10, Microsoft Mail Remote, CC:Mail, Procomm Plus, PC Anywhere, Carbon Copy, CompuServe Information Manager, and Crosstalk are trademarks of their respective owners.
 -0- 12/7/93
 /CONTACT: Karen Ann Kurlander, 908-306-7552; Brian Wood, 908-306-7508; or Mary McPartland of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600/

CO: Bell Atlantic Corporation ST: New Jersey IN: TLS SU: PDT

GK -- NY014 -- 1195 12/07/93 10:08 EST
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