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T-Mobile spearheads university WLAN project

Campuses across Europe to get unwired

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3GSM T-Mobile, Cisco, IBM and Intel today used 3GSM in Cannes to announce an initiative to roll out broadband WLAN and mobile networks across European university campuses. The plan will enable students to work and communicate wirelessly and off-campus, using either WLAN, UMTS or GPRS.

A total of 100 universities are targeted and Frankfurt University will pilot the project. The extended WLAN is already installed there and will be ready for use from April. T-Mobile provides the connectivity between the different mobile infrastructures and vouchers for students to access wireless internet off-campus at at "preferential rates". Where WLAN is not available, students can use UMTS or GPRS seamlessly.

Cisco is to provide the WLAN network, and IBM is on board as laptop partner.

The Frankfurt pilot is expected to last a couple of months. A wider roll-out is then planned from July involving universities in Austria, UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. T-Mobile already has WLAN hotspots in all these countries.

T-Mobile says 3G is is an essential element of the plan, but only as part of a single package combining network, devices, content and tariffs.

"This is where our strategy is different," said T-Mobile CEO Rene Obermann. "Customers want what's best for their needs. If you want data, you'll preferably want Wi-Fi. So we are creating one multi-speed network." ®

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