SWATCH AND MOBILECOMM ANNOUNCE BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP TO MARKET
SWATCH PAGER WATCH IN THE UNITED STATES
ATLANTA, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Swatch, a subsidiary of SMH/Swiss Corp. for Microelectronics & Watchmaking Industries Ltd., and MobileComm, a BellSouth company, today announced a partnership to market a Swatch watch with paging capabilities in the United States.
The announcement was made jointly by Nicolas G. Hayek, chairman and chief executive officer of SMH and Swatch, and John L. Clendenin, chairman and CEO of BellSouth Corporation (NYSE: BLS).
The new watch will be marketed as The Piepser and is the smallest paging device in the world. It is projected to be available in the United States in August and combines MobileComm's paging capabilities with the expertise of Swiss watchmaking.
The watch will have an approximate retail price of $200 and will be available in major department stores and other Swatch and MobileComm retail outlets across the country. MobileComm's pricing package will make the paging service itself affordable for the broad consumer market.
"Just as the Swatch watch has become a part of how Americans keep up with time, paging has become a part of how we manage our time and keep up with business associates, friends and family," Clendenin said.
"The partnership between Swatch and MobileComm underscores how paging has become a modern mainstay for today's on-the-go, on-the-road society," Clendenin added. "We believe the combination of our quality paging service with a product of Swatch's international distinction for fashion and design will meet the demands of the expanding mobile communications market."
The partnership marks another milestone in less than a year for MobileComm. First, it established one of the United States' three nationwide paging systems. Then it introduced the first nationwide alphanumeric paging service.
The Piepser, which is the German word for "beeper," uses four different tones to signal the wearer. Each of the signals is activated by a specified telephone number that the purchaser may assign to a business partner, spouse, friend or important client. Variation in tone allows the wearer to identify immediately the calling party.
The Piepser can be switched off when the wearer does not need to be contacted, or put into a silence mode when the wearer does not want to be disturbed. When in the silent mode, The Piepser stores the incoming signals for later retrieval.
"MobileComm is a recognized leader in the U.S. paging industry," Hayek said. "Their service capabilities, coupled with immediate activation, provide us with the telecommunications expertise needed to make the Swatch Piepser an exciting and viable new product for the U.S. consumer."
The Piepser will initially be offered in two color designs, one navy blue and one black. Both designs feature a gold casement and leather bands. The Piepser features a shock-resistant, precision quartz movement and is unaffected by high and low temperatures within the normal range. The paging antenna is integrated with the case and appears as five horizontal stripes on the crystal.
The pager battery has an average life of approximately 450 hours and features an end-of-life signal to show when a replacement is due. The 3-volt lithium battery is ecologically sound and fits in a compartment at the end of the strap, which slots into the case. It can be changed in one simple operation and can be purchased in stores that carry watch batteries.
Originally introduced in Europe, the initial 3,000 Swatch pager watches sold immediately and orders for an additional 18,000 were taken. In the fourth quarter of 1992, Swatch plans to introduce a pager watch able to display a telephone number the wearer should call to reach a specific person.
Swatch has revolutionized the watch industry and is credited with returning Swiss watchmakers to leadership in the field. SMH is one of the three largest watch manufacturing groups worldwide and a highly diversified company. In addition to Swatch, other watch lines in the SMH family are Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Certina, Mido, Hamilton, Balmain, Flik Flak and Endura. In addition to watch technology, the company's works also include laser technology, semiconductor technology and measuring instruments.
Based in Jackson, Miss., MobileComm has been providing paging and voice messaging services in markets coast to coast for more than 20 years.
BellSouth is an Atlanta-based, international telecommunications holding company. Its subsidiaries offer local telephone service in nine southeastern states and mobile communications services worldwide, providing advertising and publishing services and market and maintain stand-alone and fully integrated communications systems.
/CONTACT: Jean Coppenbarger of MobileComm, 601-977-1648/
(BLS) CO: BellSouth Corporation; SMH/Swiss Corp. ST: Mississippi, Georgia IN: SU: AH -- NY065 -- 5001 03/04/92 13:49 EST