Global Mobile Communication is 20 Years Old



    GSMA Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Global Mobile Foundations

    LONDON, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - Twenty years ago tomorrow, an historic agreement
was signed in Copenhagen by 15 telecommunications operators from 13
countries(i) that led to the development of the Global System for Mobile
Communications (GSM), and a mobile communications industry that today serves
more than 2.5 billion people across 218 countries and territories.

    To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:
http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/gsmassociation/29667/

    The 'Memorandum of Understanding' agreement of 7th September 1987 laid
the foundation for the first Europe-wide digital cellular system, which soon
became the world's first global mobile system as used by more than 700 mobile
operators and served by thousands of suppliers today. The agreement also
triggered a technology evolution path that continues today with the roll-out
of more than 120 mobile broadband networks in 61 countries.
    "The 1987 agreement is widely regarded as the foundation of today's
global mobile phone industry and the birth of one of the greatest
technological achievements of our age," said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, the
global trade association for mobile operators. "The early vision of our
industry created international cooperation on an unprecedented scale that has
led to a socio-economic revolution benefiting people, businesses and countries
throughout the world."
    "GSM is the single most important agreement in the history of
telecommunications," said Sir Christopher Gent, one of the original
signatories of the agreement and former CEO of Vodafone and today Chairman of
GlaxoSmithKline plc. "With 2.5 billion users around the world today, it has
done more to bridge the digital divide than any other innovation, and is a
tremendous example of global cooperation."
    Today, the GSM family of technologies makes up 85% of the global mobile
services market, which accounts for about 1.6% of global GDP. Each year,
mobile users purchase more than one billion new handsets, make more than
7 trillion minutes of calls and send about 2.5 trillion text messages(ii).
    From basic mobile voice services, that have enabled people to connect to
others for the first time in their lives, to the evolution of mobile
multimedia, including internet access, information and entertainment services,
the industry continues to innovate at a breathtaking pace. The arrival of
mobile broadband, combined with the convergence of the mobile, entertainment,
computing and financial service industries, is today forging new opportunities
and services that will see the industry continue to evolve long into the
future.
    The GSMA, which also celebrates the 20th anniversary of its foundation
through the agreement, plans to celebrate this historic landmark with a unique
documentary film travelogue, the Mobile World, commissioned to explore the
diversity of mobile use and innovation globally. A film crew is currently
travelling across 20 countries of the world from South Africa, Kenya and
Rwanda to China, Japan, India, South Korea, Europe and the US, to capture on
film, the myriad of mobile services that are changing, enhancing and saving
lives on a daily basis.
    The Mobile World will be previewed for the first time at the GSMA's
forthcoming Mobile Asia Congress (Macau, 11-15 November 2007). More
information about the film, including a short trailer, and twenty photographs
depicting mobile use around the world can be found at: www.gsmtwenty.com

    
    Notes to Editors

    (i)  The original 'MoU' agreement signed on 7th September 1987 by France,
         Italy, Germany, UK, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium,
         Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and on the 10th September 1987
         by Spain.

    (ii) Sources: Wireless Intelligence, GSMA, Gartner and Informa. The
         minutes of use figure includes inbound voice calls. More statistics
         are available on a separate fact sheet.
    

    For more information about the GSM Association please see
www.gsmworld.com




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Mark Smith - Tel:
+44-78-50-22-97-24; David Pringle - Tel: +44-79-57-55-60-69, Email:
press@gsm.org

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GSM ASSOCIATION

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