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May 3, 1994

MICROSOFT-MTEL US NATIONAL WIRELESS NETWORK AIMED AT THE FAMILY UNIT

By CBR Staff Writer

Does your partner work? Do you have two or more children? If the answer is yes, then you’re the target market for Microsoft Corp and Jackson, Mississippi-based Mobile Telecommunications Technologies Corp’s new US National Wireless Network (CI No 2,382). Up until now, the system – due for launch next year has been seen purely as a business service for mobile professionals who spend 20% of their time out of the office. But the National Wireless Network’s president Jai Bagat told Reuters that one of Microsoft’s tasks will be to develop software for these home users, pointing out that over 80m Americans live in two-income families with two or more children. The $150m wireless network, to be built by the middle of next year, will offer two-way data messaging services to users of laptop computers, special pagers and a new range of MTEL-developed communicators with a 30-day battery life. It will enable users to send data at 24,000bps, and to receive at 9,600bps. Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates and its co-founder Paul Allen, have each taken a $10m stake in the venture. Bhagat promised that the Nationwide Wireless Network would be compatible with satellite networks, including the $9,000m Teledesic Corp system planned by Gates and Craig McCaw, as well as Motorola’s Iridium Inc project, but said it was too early for the Wireless Network to have specific plans for a satellite link.

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