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France Telecom offers greater wireless-Internet convergence with new suite of WAP-compliant services
Cannes, February 23, 1999

The Net Company in France builds on Itineris Mail offering, bringing even more value to cellular customers.

France Telecom, the leader in the French wireless telephone market with nearly six million customers on its Itineris GSM network, is bringing all Itineris users the benefits of mobile access to the Internet via their cellphones.

This new suite of mobile Internet services is based on the Wireless Application Protocol and enables Itineris customers to access an extended range of interactive Internet applications in real time while on the move.

Trials will begin with several hundred Itineris customers in April 1999. The initial services available will include weather, banking, news, highway and route information and directories (search by number, Yellow Pages, White Pages, etc.). France Telecom Mobiles will be the first operator in Europe to test this service using the WAP 1.0 standard.

France Telecom already offers "Itineris Mail" services, providing text-to-voice and text email (reception and sending) directly on wireless handsets. France Telecom is also the only operator in France to offer text-to-voice email. The superior quality of this service is possible thanks to application of voice recognition work by France Telecom's CNET research lab.

In another initiative pursued in partnership with Motorola and De La Rue, France Telecom is testing a system that enables Itineris customers to carry out secure transactions with credit card payment. The new system will make it possible for customers to purchase goods and services using their mobile phone from anywhere in France. The system fully complies with the specifications defined by the Groupement des Cartes Bancaires bank card consortium.

The Itineris GSM cellular network has over 7,000 base stations and covers 97 percent of the French population, as well as 81 percent of the country. To support growing mobile phone traffic while guaranteeing superior service quality, France Telecom is in the process of building out a dual-band network (GSM 900/1800 MHz) in Paris, and other major French cities according to a calendar established by the Autorité de Régulation des Télécoms, the French telecom regulatory authority. At the same time, France Telecom is equipping its network with Enhanced Full Rate (EFR) technology, which provides customers with quality that is nearly equivalent to that on the fixed telephone network.

Revenues from international wireless activities doubled

France Telecom is the leading mobile phone operator in France and the fifth leading mobile operator in Europe. The group's international wireless businesses continue to experience dynamic growth, as revenues from these activities doubled in one year to exceed FRF5 billion in 1998. France Telecom's international wireless services counted over three million subscribers at December 31, 1998, a year-to-year increase of 130 percent.

France Telecom continues to consolidate its position as the Net Company in France by offering a steady stream of value-added services. France Telecom is leveraging strong growth in both of these markets to drive its own development.