Under the Directives of NTC’s USO Plan, QUALCOMM and CAT Facilitate Greater Wireless Technology Access in Southern Thailand
QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA ) and other advanced wireless technologies, today announced the launch of its Wireless Reach™ initiative in Koh Panyee and Ban Pakkoh, Phang Nga in southern Thailand. QUALCOMM, along with CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the Office of the Non-Formal Education Commission (ONFEC), the Ministry of Education and Axesstel Inc. (AMEX: AFT), are working together to provide EV-DO high-speed wireless services to fulfill the medical and educational needs of these communities.
Today’s launch of the QUALCOMM Wireless Reach initiative in Thailand demonstrates our continued efforts to provide greater wireless access to communities that have limited or no connectivity,” said Shawn A. Covell, senior director, international government affairs, QUALCOMM. “Due to the unique conditions of living on a remote island, voice and data communication is often a challenge and at times, medical assistance efforts can be hampered. QUALCOMM and our partners are hopeful that EV-DO services will improve residents’ lives by providing easier and faster access to medical help and education.”
QUALCOMM will donate telemedicine equipment for two public health stations on the two islands, including: illumination and imaging systems, dermascopes, ENT scopes, general examination cameras, stethoscopes and digital spirometers. Desktop computers and wireless connectivity equipment also will be provided to the nearest main hospital in Phang Nga, connecting the public health stations with the hospital, enabling them to transmit data to the hospital and benefit from real-time access to doctors.
“This project is an excellent example of how the government and the private sector can work together to address socioeconomic issues faced by some of our rural communities,” said Dr. Porntep Siriwanarangsun M.D., senior advisor, Ministry of Public Health Thailand. “One of the key challenges we face in communities like Koh Panyee and Ban Pakkoh is the ability to communicate in real-time, which is needed for specific medical assistance. We are delighted that QUALCOMM, CAT and Axesstel have demonstrated their commitment by supplying telemedicine equipment and EV-DO services that helps to bridge the communication gap.”
The Thailand Wireless Reach initiative will also establish telecenters in Tub Pud Public Library and Kura Buri Public Library in the Phang Nga area. QUALCOMM will provide desktop computers and Axesstel will provide its D800 EV-DO modems to the two libraries for Internet access, enabling greater learning and education. Furthermore, four laptop computers - equipped with EV-DO cards and using CAT’s EV-DO network - also will be provided, with the goal of bringing Internet access for education directly to the people in Phang Nga as part of ONFEC’s mobile learning program. CAT will provide three years of service - free of charge - in addition to eight EV-DO cards.
“A key mission for ONFEC is to empower underserved communities with the technology needed to further their learning,” said Dr. Sombat Suwanpitak, director, Office of The Non-Formal Education Commission. “Thai residents living in Phang Nga - either on islands like Koh Panyee and Ban Pakkoh or in remote areas such as Tub Pud and Kura Buri - usually have limited access to telephones and the Internet. This has been one of our challenges in providing education. However, we are confident that our efforts in providing broadband wireless Internet services, using CAT’s EV-DO service, will offer residents better access to information and education and will greatly enhance their social and economic livelihoods.”
“Thailand is one of the most exciting markets in terms of telecommunications development, and we appreciate the efforts of our partners in improving teledensity in the rural areas of Thailand,” said Professor Prasit Prapinmongkolkarn, Ph.D., commissioner of The National Telecommunications Commission. “Looking ahead, the NTC will continue to work with our partners to ensure that wireless technology is delivered to underserved communities.”
“CAT Telecom is delighted to work with QUALCOMM, NTC, Axesstel and the Thai authorities to improve the socioeconomic conditions of those with limited access to telecommunications,” said Mr. Phisal Jophochaudom, president of CAT Telecom Public Company Limited. “As a leading provider of EV-DO high-speed wireless data services in Thailand, we are in a strong position to help the people of Phang Nga and other remote areas to enhance the overall communications capabilities in their communities.”
“The Wireless Reach project in Phang Nga demonstrates Axesstel’s commitment to further the goal of universal global connectivity, particularly in underserved regions of the world,” said Marv Tseu, chief executive officer for Axesstel. “We look forward to working with QUALCOMM, regional CDMA operators and other organizations to increase voice and data access in Thailand. We believe our D800 EV-DO solution will provide the residents of Phang Nga reliable connectivity to enable them to obtain the information needed for education and communication that can be difficult in rural areas.”
QUALCOMM believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people’s lives. The Company’s Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to developing communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access healthcare and reach global markets. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
QUALCOMM Incorporated (www.qualcomm.com) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., QUALCOMM is included in the S&P 500 Index and is a 2007 FORTUNE 500® company traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market® under the ticker symbol QCOM.
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