SFR Picks Alcatel for Hotspot

SFR has chosen Alcatel to deploy the first WiFi network in the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris

June 25, 2003

3 Min Read

PARIS -- Alcatel (Paris : CGEP.PA and NYSE : ALA) the world's leader in broadband access solutions has signed a contract with SFR, the mobile telephony subsidiary of the Cegetel Group, for the supply and turnkey deployment of a WiFi "hotspot" at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris, the third busiest railway station in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, and the first station in France to offer WiFi services.

This network, which has been operational for almost three months now, enables SNCF to offer its customers the possibility of broadband wireless access to the Internet for the first time. During the first test month, SFR distributed prepaid WiFi cards free of charge to users of the Grandes Lignes (Main Lines) platform serving France, London and Brussels, and people using the Eurostar mezzanine and the Grands Voyageurs (longdistance travelers) lounge, enabling them to access and surf the Internet, consult their emails, and, in some cases, access their company's Intranet site. To give customers access to the WiFi network at the Gare du Nord, SFR, in partnership with the SNCF, Télécom Développement and Intel, set up a stand on the "Grandes Lignes" platform offering three types of prepaid "SFR WiFi Service" cards, allowing connection times of 20, 40 and 60 minutes, with no limit on the volume of data downloaded or exchanged.

SFR will soon be selling its SFR WiFi Service cards in the Gare du Nord station sales kiosks. Access to the SNCF and SFR web sites (providing information to Gare du Nord passengers and allowing travel preparation and purchasing) will remain free of charge for people buying these prepaid cards.

Under this contract, Alcatel provides SFR not only with an endtoend WLAN solution but also a totally open service architecture. This will allow the operator to rapidly develop a wide range of data services by using the capacities of the network to the full. The flexibility of this architecture will enable SFR to respond optimally to the wide range of potential users and their needs.

At the beginning of the year, Alcatel deployed turnkey WLAN solutions enabling SFR to open its first WiFi "hotspot " in the Palais des Congrès et des Festivals (Congress and Festival Center) in Cannes, at the occasion of the 3GSM World Congress. Alcatel has thus been able to deploy its equipment on the first two major commercial "hotspots" in France.

"In view of the success of our first prepaid offers in Cannes and at the Gare du Nord railway station, we plan to deploy some 200 WiFi "hotspots" under SFR ownership by the end of 2003, and give access to 80% of the 6000 French "hotspots" by the year 2005," stated Pierre Bardon, SFR's Managing Director. Thanks to the quality of Alcatel's services and solutions, we have successfully put these two WiFi sites into service under commercial conditions. This lets us envisage the implementation of such a WiFi development program with maximum guarantees of success."

"Alcatel is very pleased to contribute to the success of SFR's WiFi development program", added Etienne Fouques, president of Alcatel's Mobile Communications activities. "Alcatel's WLAN solution for public networks satisfied all the WiFi technical evaluation tests imposed by SFR. This success confirms Alcatel's leading position as a provider of broadband access solutions, whether fixed or mobile, hardwired or wireless".

Alcatel's public WLAN solution is part of the Group's strategy aimed at offering operators endtoend solutions that enable them to reduce their costs and increase their revenue. Moreover, with this catalogue of solutions and associated professional services, Alcatel gives fixed and mobile operators the possibility of readily introducing new services and expanding their existing service offering. For example Alcatel's WLAN solution can be combined with Alcatel's world leading DSL solution thereby enabling service providers to offer their clients a DSL/WLAN bundled service package.

Alcatel SA


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