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GSMA Board Taps Ehrlich As Interim Chair

The GSM Association, a wireless technology governance board, Thursday began making preparations for a major governance change next month.

The collection of some 550 second and third generation wireless network operators said it has established a CEO Board (initially an Interim Board), comprising CEO level representatives of some of the world's largest operator companies. As its first action, the GSMA named Craig Ehrlich, an Executive Board Member of SUNDAY to lead the group.

Over the last six months, Ehrlich has acted as Chairman of the GSMA's CEO Advisory Board, which devised the landmark structural changes to the governance of the GSMA. Ehrlich will now take over the CEO Interim Board chair prior to the selection and formal approval of the full 23 member CEO Board, which will take place through mid February 2003.

The CEO Interim Board comprises CEO-level representatives of network operators including Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile, SingTel Group, Cingular Wireless, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) Telefonica Moviles, Sonera and AT&T Wireless.

"By getting co-operation, agreement and involvement at Boardroom level among the largest wireless groups, we can unite this industry and drive it forward at an even faster pace," Ehrlich said in a statement. "The introduction of new services - such as 3G - can be achieved with greater speed, clarity and direction when the leading operators communicate and co-operate on the basic technical enablers."

Ehrlich says in the recent past, the GSM board has lacked collective focus on key technical enablers has led to piecemeal, fragmented approaches to the delivery of some of the more complex services - such as mobile data and mobile commerce. The confusion in turn has led inter-operability problems.

"The new Board will target confusion and replace it with clarity," Ehrlich said. "We will prevent fragmentation and instead work together to deliver compelling new interoperable services on a common global platform. That way we, as an industry body will help to increase the values of our members' businesses by delivering the best results, not only for our members but also for all their customers and their shareholders and the global investment community."

Short for Global System for Mobile Communications, one of the leading digital cellular systems, GSM uses narrowband TDMA to allow eight simultaneous calls on the same radio frequency.

GSM was first introduced in 1991 and has become the de facto standard in Europe and Asia. The digital wireless service reaches more than 777.5 million customers (end November 2002) in over 191 countries today - approximately 71 percent of the total digital wireless market today.