News Release Details

Wi-LAN and Tele2 (UK) Sign Agreement to Expand Wireless Network Throughout the UK


Wi-LAN to Supply Tele2(UK) with W-OFDM Products for Expansion of Wireless Local Loop for Broadband Internet Access

Calgary, Alberta
May 24, 2000

Tele2 (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular (NASDAQ:MICC), and Wi-LAN (TSE:WIN), an innovator of high-speed wireless data communications technology and products, announced today a multi-year preferred supplier agreement in which Wi-LAN's I.WiLL products, based on their patented Wide-band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (W-OFDM) technology, will be used to expand Tele2's wireless network. Under terms of the agreement, Wi-LAN will supply Tele2 (UK) with a forecasted 7000 units through to December 2001. The agreement is renewable on the anniversary date for each subsequent year. Wi-LAN units will expand Tele2's commercial operations and provide high-speed wireless Internet access in the United Kingdom. 

"Tele2 has been using Wi-LAN's products for two years and has been very successful in providing high-speed wireless Internet access to our customers," said David Spriggs, Tele2 (UK) CEO. "Based on early evaluation, we believe that Wi-LAN's W-OFDM technology will offer many advantages for the next generation in wireless Internet access." 

The Tele2 Launch:The Tele2 service, a new, innovative and cost-effective way for businesses to get permanent access to the Internet, was launched on May 5, 2000 with the support of the Minister for Small Business and E-commerce and Member of Parliament, Patricia Hewitt. Using their I.WiLL products, Wi-LAN performed a W-OFDM demonstration, designed to show the migration to using W-OFDM in the Tele2 network. Streaming video and LAN measurement techniques allowed the attendees to view W-OFDM technology at speeds greater than 20 Mbps.

"Demonstrating the capabilities of our I.WiLL products at this launch was another success for Wi-LAN," said Bill Hews, Wi-LAN president and chief operating officer. "Such demonstrations help people understand how their lives can be improved by W-OFDM being deployed in a wireless network."

Tele2 (UK) has recently completed a successful 16-month commercial wireless network trial in the Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham areas where over 10% of all businesses have already signed up for the service, many of them using it to host in-house websites, which are integrated to back-office systems to support e-commerce-type transactions. Tele2's "Always On" service has proven to be suited to rapid transmission of all data applications, including video conferencing, interactive multimedia, telecommuting and remote office or remote LAN applications.

Tele2 is currently providing affordable, "Always On", high-speed Internet access for approximately 5,000 users. Based on the encouraging results to date, Tele2 (UK) is looking to roll out services in cities throughout the UK for the remainder of 2000 and all of 2001 to cover 15% of UK SME businesses. It is anticipated that the operation will be able to expand to cover approximately 60% of the UK population by 2003.

Tele2's immediate expansion phase delivers services to Leicester, Leeds, Bradford and Nottingham, and plans are already well advanced to offer services in Bristol, Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh later this year.

The Service:In April 1998, Wi-LAN signed a Wireless Local Loop contract to supply the wireless equipment for a nationwide wireless data network in the United Kingdom. Tele2 (UK) will use the network to offer high-speed Internet access and intranet services to small- and medium-sized businesses and small office/home office workers. The wireless network, which initially covered England's Thames Valley region, provides faster and cheaper connections than ISDN, at over 15 times the speed of current wire-based ISDN systems.

Instead of traditional landlines, the system uses a series of base stations, antennas and Wi-LAN's wireless radio technology to transmit data using Internet protocols. The project was spurred when Tele2 (UK) was awarded a license to use up to 2 x 84 MHz of radio spectrum in the 3.6 to 4.2 GHz bands, with a mandate to extend broadband telecommunications services to more of the country's population. A licensed band means radio frequencies can be transmitted at a higher power and with a longer range than in conventional license-exempt bands, with little risk of interference. Additionally, the Tele2 (UK) system offers the benefits of a leased line, such as constant connectivity, but its packet-based technology means that customers pay for the service based on the volume of data they transmit, which makes the network far more cost-effective to use.

"Tele2 is a innovative licensed service provider, and we are pleased that they have embraced the benefits enabled by Wi-LAN's W-OFDM-based I.WiLL product line," added Mr. Hews. "This initial contract is evidence that momentum is building for truly high capacity, high efficiency, low-cost service delivered by the I.WiLL product line."

The Technology:
Tele2's wireless network expansion is made possible using Wi-LAN's patented W-OFDM technology. W-OFDM is a variation of OFDM that further improves its characteristics. The signal reception is corrected for distortions, allowing greater transmission speeds, and processes the signal to maximize the range. W-OFDM allows low-power, multipoint RF (Radio Frequency) networks to be implemented, minimizing interference with adjacent networks. 

W-OFDM effectively permits several independent channels to operate within the same band, allowing multipoint networks and point-to-point backbone systems to be overlaid on one another in the same frequency band. Less disruption of adjacent users and insensitivity to external noise means that high-speed multipoint data networks can be simply and rapidly deployed. Once installed, these systems are tolerant to changes in the RF environment, limiting maintenance requirements, and the systems can be easily expanded to meet the user's changing needs. 

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