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September 22, 1995

BEELINE TO OFFER ABILITY TO ROAM ACROSS AMERICA

By CBR Staff Writer

Beeline, one of Moscow’s two large cellular telephone networks, says that by the end of June it will be the first Russian cellular network whose customers will be able to use their portable telephones anywhere in the US. Elizabeth Hamburg, a senior manager at Beeline, said a roaming agreement has been reached with the US company Intouch USA, giving Beeline customers the facility to use their telephones in all US states, Mexico and Canada. No other Russian mobile telephone network offers roaming in the US. Until now Beeline customers could use their telephones only in St Petersburg, Ninzhy Novgorod, Chilabinsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Samara. Roaming will be non-automatic. To use their Beeline phone in the US, customers will have to bring it into the company’s office and have it reprogrammed before their trip. The cost is a $60 set up fee plus a $1.75 or $2.00 per minute incoming and outgoing calling charge in the US, depending on where the telephone is used. Around 10,000 customers use the Beeline network and there is a one month waiting for a phone. Hamburg said once the planned expansion in Moscow capacity is completed by September, the waiting list will be cleared and the number of users should stand at about 15,000. By the end of the summer, Beeline will use its agreement with InTouch to provide US visitors to Russia with the opportunity to rent a Beeline telephone and receive a Moscow telephone number before they leave on their business trips, she said. Beeline is a joint venture between Russian companies Vymplecom and KB Impulse, and L M Ericsson Telefon AB and other western and Russian investors. It is a digital 800 AMPS network; the other large network in Moscow is the NMT 450 network Moscow Cellular Communications.

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