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COALITION LAUNCHES NEW U.S./CANADIAN CELLULAR SERVICE BellSouth Mobility Part of Coalition

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that will mark a new standard for cellular service, 15 leading mobile communications companies today announced a new service that will bring consistent levels of quality and guaranteed satisfaction to cellular phone users across much of the U.S. and Canada.
 The new offering, called MobiLink(SM), includes a number of innovations designed to make cellular service easier to use and accessible to more people.
 MobiLink service will allow people to more easily make and receive calls, using standardized dialing codes in major metropolitan areas. It will also provide 24-hour customer service, service centers for repairs and loaner phones and the industry's first customer satisfaction guarantee of its scope.
 MobiLink service will be available to all new and existing cellular customers in licensed markets when it becomes available early in the third quarter.
 "This ability to provide consistent cellular service and quality -- in rural areas as well as cities -- is the beginning of a new era in wireless communications," said Richard McCormick, chairman, president and CEO of U S WEST, Inc., whose cellular subsidiary, U S WEST Cellular, is one of the MobiLink partners.
 "With these new standards," he said, "MobiLink will make cellular telephones easier to use and will bring the benefits of mobile communications to a broader range of business and personal users."
 Superior Coverage and Quality
 The MobiLink service mark will be available to be licensed to wireline cellular operators owned by many leading telecommunications companies (see MobiLink Partners list). In the U.S., the FCC originally licensed two cellular carriers in each of the 306 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and 428 RSAs (Rural Service Areas): an affiliate of the local telephone company (wireline or "B-side" carrier) and an independent (non-wireline or "A-side" carrier). Only the B-side carrier in each market will be able to obtain a MobiLink license.
 In Canada, the MobiLink brand will be offered by Mobility Canada, a national consortium of companies operating the largest paging and cellular networks in the country.
 With Mobility Canada, the B-side properties of the MobiLink companies will cover 83 percent of the U.S. and Canadian populations. Through licensing agreements, MobiLink expects to cover virtually all of North America.
 Perhaps more important that MobiLink's geographic reach will be its licensees' commitment to quality standards, said John McLennan, president and CEO of Mobility Canada.
 Before being licensed, a licensee must meet specific minimum requirements in areas such as network connectivity (allows customers to make and receive calls); call quality; customer satisfaction, and service responsiveness.
 "This marks a turning point in the evolution of the cellular industry," said McLennan. "Never before has such a wide-ranging coalition representing so broad a population base come together to establish standards of quality and customer satisfaction.
 "These standards go beyond ad hoc technical and marketing arrangements. They establish a unified approach that sets a new competitive benchmark, lays the foundation for new features and services and further enhances mobile communications, including data."
 In many cases, the partners are already enhancing their B-side networks and customer service functions to meet the brand's standards. They will also support the new brand with national, regional and local advertising.
 Meeting Evolving Market Demand
 The value of such a nationally branded service has been confirmed in extensive market research conducted by McKinsey & Co. The study involved nearly 1,000 cellular users and non-users in 21 markets.
 "The research strongly suggests that as the cellular market matures, it will follow a well-established pattern in which brand identity becomes relatively more important to customers," said Jack Frazee, chairman and CEO of Centel Corporation, parent of MobiLink partner Centel Cellular.
 In one key finding, current users felt a national mobile service could provide significantly more value than their current local carrier offering. The research also indicates that a nationally branded service could accelerate new subscriber growth rates.
 "The MobiLink brand will complement rather than replace member company identities, brands and logos," Frazee said. "The combination of a nationally branded service together with these local service reputations will be a powerful marketing force."
 Setting A New Standard
 The MobiLink service was developed in response to specific consumer input and will incorporate the following features:
 -- Simplified access and feature codes -- Standardized dialing and access codes (e.g., for receiving calls while roaming, or for customer service and technical support), as well as standardized codes for custom calling features in major metropolitan markets, will make it much easier to use cellular service.
 -- 24-hour customer service -- Customer service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing * (star) 611 on a cellular phone or by dialing a single 800 number that will link users back to their local carriers' customer service.
 -- Customer satisfaction guarantee -- MobiLink licensees will guarantee every aspect of their service and, if they are unable to correct a problem to the customer's complete satisfaction, the customer can get a free call from his or her local MobiLink provider.
 -- Improved cellular calling -- MobiLink customers will be able to make and receive calls instantly from any major metropolitan area where the brand is available. Customers will simply dial a two-digit code to receive calls when roaming outside their home markets.
 -- Service centers -- Service centers will be available throughout the U.S. and Canada to provide tune-ups, antenna replacement, accessory sales, loaner phones (subject to availability) and other services.
 The MobiLink brand will be managed by a full-time executive team eventually located in Chicago and made up of specialists in network, customer service, marketing, finance and legal.
 -0- 2/18/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Following is a list of the MobiLink Partners: ALLTEL Mobile Communications, Inc., Little Rock, Ark.; Ameritech Mobile Communications, Hoffman Estates, Ill.; Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems, Bedminster, N.J.; BellSouth Mobility, Inc., Atlanta; Cellular, Inc., Englewood, Colo.; Centel Cellular Company, Chicago; Century Cellunet, Monroe, La.; GTE Mobilnet, Atlanta; Contel Cellular, Inc., Atlanta; Mobility Canada (12-company consortium); NYNEX Mobile Communications Company, Orangeburg, N.Y.; PacTel Cellular, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Rochester Tel Mobile Communications, Rochester, N.Y.; SNET Cellular, Inc., New Haven, Conn.; U S WEST Cellular, Bellevue, Wash./
 /CONTACT: Marilee Davis of Davis & Associates, 404-261-0309, for BellSouth Cellular, or Nicole Lipson of BellSouth Cellular, 404-604-6493/


CO: BellSouth Mobility Inc; Contel Cellular, Inc.; GTE Mobilnet ST: Georgia IN: TLS SU:

BN-RA -- AT003 -- 7736 02/18/93 09:34 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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