Novatel Wireless and Brightpoint China Partner to Deliver Merlin G201 GSM/GPRS Wireless PC Card to Asia
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - February 7, 2002 - Novatel Wireless, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVTL), a leading provider of wireless data access solutions, today announced it has begun commercial shipments of its Merlin G201TM Wireless PC Card Modem to Brightpoint China Ltd, a joint venture between Chinatron Group Holdings Limited and Brightpoint, Inc. (Nasdaq:CELL). Brightpoint China will distribute the Merlin G201 to vendors, network operators, agent dealers, retailers and end-users throughout Asia.
Novatel Wireless also announced that the OFTA (Office of the Telecommunications Authority) Hong Kong has granted type approval on the Merlin G201. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority is the department of the government responsible for regulating the telecommunications sector in Hong Kong.
In related news, the Merlin G201 will be available through CSL, the second largest operator in Hong Kong with over 1 million subscribers and 70 global roaming agreements. CSL will distribute the Merlin G201 under the 1010 and One2Free brand names later this month, providing both consumer and enterprise users with international GSM/GPRS data access.
"We are committed to the Asia Pacific region and have a very large investment in growing this market by providing the highest quality GSM/GPRS solutions," said Eric Leung, CEO of Brightpoint China. "We chose Novatel Wireless as our GSM/GPRS PC Card solutions partner because of their proven quality, experience, and expertise in providing next generation GPRS products. We believe Merlin G201 is a powerful data device for our valuable Enterprise customers."
The distribution agreement, signed last year, is valued at over $20 million. To date, Novatel Wireless has been awarded 8 commercial contracts worldwide to provide GSM/GPRS solutions in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The contracts are valued at over $45 million.
"This is a significant milestone for Novatel Wireless. Asia Pacific is the most populated region in the world and we are excited about expanding our GSM/GPRS product sales in this fast growing market," said John Major, CEO of Novatel Wireless. "As a global leader of GSM/GPRS wireless data access solutions, we are excited to partner with Brightpoint China, to deliver high-speed mobile data services and allow customers to obtain Internet-based content and services via their laptops and PDAs."
ABOUT THE MERLIN G201
The Merlin G201 is a dual band (900/1800) wireless PC Card modem based on GSM/GPRS technology. Slightly larger than a credit card, Merlin G201 slides inside your Type II PC Card slot, providing access to email, corporate databases and the Internet at maximum speeds up to 53.6 kbps over GPRS and 14.4 kbps over GSM. Equipped with a robust removable antenna to enhance portability, the Merlin G201 enables Short Messaging Service (SMS) capabilities allowing users to send and receive text messages for quick person-to-person or group chats from their laptop or handheld device.
With user-friendly DataNetTM wireless modem manager software, the Merlin G201 uses the familiar Microsoft dial-up connection that allows users to control their connection to the network providing one-step easy connection, saving battery life and time attempting to establish a connection while booting up or when network coverage is not available. Merlin G201 is compatible with Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, Millennium Edition, XP and Pocket PC operating systems.
The Merlin G201 will offer standard GSM voice capabilities with an upgrade package available shortly after launch, allowing calls to be originated on a laptop or Pocket PC. The user will be notified of incoming calls even when in a data session. The Merlin G201 upgrade package will include a wearable headset with differential audio for crisp, clear sound.
GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a packet switched wireless data network that allows for data to be sent and received using GPRS devices in a more cost efficient and quicker way than was possible over the GSM (Global System for Mobile) cellular system. Asia wireless users will enjoy data potential download rates up to 53.6 kbps over GPRS and up to14.4 kbps via circuit-switched data over GSM. The Merlin G201 GPRS Card operates over the 900/1800 MHz bands for coverage throughout Europe and Asia. GSM service providers around the world are aggressively enhancing their service capabilities through the support of GPRS for packet data.
GPRS wireless technology employs extensive authentication and encryption via standard GSM algorithms, making it one of the most secure public wireless systems in the world. The Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM card), a component of the GSM network, stores the authentication and encryption algorithms, making it virtually impossible for unauthorized users to capture and decipher messages.
ABOUT NOVATEL WIRELESS, INC.
Novatel Wireless, Inc. is a leading provider of wireless data modems and software for use with handheld computing devices and portable personal computers. The company delivers innovative and comprehensive solutions that enable businesses and consumers to access personal, corporate and public information through email, enterprise networks and the Internet. Novatel Wireless also offers wireless data modems and custom engineering services for hardware integration projects in a wide range of vertical applications. The Novatel Wireless product portfolio includes the Minstrel® Family of Wireless Handheld Modems, MerlinTM Family of Wireless PC Card Modems, Sage® Wireless Serial Modems, Lancer 3WTM Family of Ruggedized Modems and ExpediteTM Family of Wireless Embedded Modules. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Novatel Wireless is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq: NVTL). For more information, please visit the Novatel Wireless web site: www.novatelwireless.com.
ABOUT BRIGHTPOINT CHINA
Brightpoint China Ltd (BPC) is a Joint Venture company between Chinatron Group Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong Group of companies and Brightpoint, Inc. in the United States. BPC distributes wireless communication products manufactured by leading Global Wireless technology companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and Novatel Wireless. The core business is built around the wholesale distribution of cellular handsets and mobile data devices and the provision of value-added Wireless Logistic Services to enhance the profitability of our customers.
Brightpoint China was established in 1997 and has its Corporate Head Office in Hong Kong. In China, BPC has a very close business-partner relationship with a local wireless product distribution giant Mobilecom Ltd. which owns over 30 facilities and offices in all major provinces and employs over 200 people nationally. BPC's mission is to offer innovative services to our core customers and bring value within the supply chain of the wireless telecommunications industry.
The Novatel Wireless logo, Minstrel, Merlin, Sage, Lancer 3W and Expedite are trademarks of Novatel Wireless, Inc. Minstrel and Sage are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All other brands, products and company names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective holders.
In Regards to Novatel Wireless: This release may contain forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include risks relating to international sales and potential foreign currency exchange fluctuations, technological changes, increased levels of competition, continued acceptance of Novatel Wireless' products and dependence on intellectual property rights. These factors, as well as other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, are discussed in more detail in Novatel Wireless' filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies.