World First for Virgin Radio, Manx Telecom and Crown Castle
Warwick, 11 October 2000, Virgin Radio and Manx Telecom (a wholly owned subsidiary of BT) are teaming up with Crown Castle to trial a world first in radio broadcasting and 3rd generation mobile technology - the introduction of the first totally interactive digital radio service "Manx Choice". Discussions have already commenced with the Isle of Man Communications Commission which licenses and regulates broadcasting on the Island, and the UK Radiocommunications Agency about the necessary approvals for these broadcasts.
Following the launch of the world's first 3G mobile network by Manx Telecom, in partnership with NEC and Crown Castle in Spring 2001, and subject to approval by the Isle of Man Communications Commission, Virgin Radio will operate a trial Digital Radio licence on the Isle of Man, using a Digital Radio technology service provided by Crown Castle. This will be the first time a Digital Radio service has been available on the Isle of Man. Scottish Media Group, Virgin Radio's parent company, will present a new digital only service for the Isle of Man - currently named "Manx Choice". This will be the world's first interactive radio station; radio programmes playing out will be selected by the public on a daily basis, using 3rd generation technology. Listeners will be able to vote for and influence a daily play-list of music and introduce additions to the play-list, using 3G devices. In the future it is anticipated that Digital Radio reception and 3G capability will be combined into Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).
Digital Radio will allow listeners to hear "Manx Choice" in CD quality stereo, while being able to call up the station's website and choose the musical output for the day. The most popular tracks will be played at the highest rotation, with users being able to interact using the mobile Internet. In addition to this pioneering service, it is hoped that the multiplex will also broadcast a range of digital radio services, including Manx Radio, Virgin Radio in their existing formats, as well as new variants of Virgin Radio that will be soon launching on the Internet. These new services will include classic rock, soft rock, new music and an eighties/nineties upbeat station called the Wheels of Steel.
The launch is an exciting series of firsts, due to the fact that partner, Manx Telecom will be launching the world's first 3rd Generation Mobile Service in Spring 2001, ahead of the rest of the UK and other international plans.
Lee Roberts, Commercial Development Director of SMG Radio, who created the concept behind "Manx Choice", said, "Virgin Radio has always been an innovator in broadcasting. We were the first radio station in the world to launch a WAP site, and we have been looking at 3G as a potential platform for several years. "Manx Choice" is a new type of radio station for the 3G user, using the latest telecommunications and broadcasting technology, and shows one possible version of future broadcasting. It is the world's first truly interactive radio station, totally programmed by the listener, using the world's first example of a hybrid 3G and Digital Radio network."
Bob Giles, President and Chief Operating Officer of Crown Castle UK, who are playing a major part in the rollout stated: "Crown Castle has considerable expertise in all aspects of digital broadcasting and new generation mobile telephone networks. We are very proud to be able to offer our support to such a technologically advanced project in the world of Digital Radio and 3G. After having been involved in the design and build of this network, Crown Castle is delighted to be able to roll out converging services to make Digital Radio and 3G a reality."
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Note to Editors
Crown Castle International
Crown Castle International Corp (NASDAQ: TWRS) along with its subsidiaries ("Crown Castle") engineers, deploys, owns and operates technologically advanced shared wireless infrastructure, including extensive networks of towers and rooftops as well as analogue and digital audio and television broadcast transmission systems. Crown Castle offers near-universal broadcast coverage in the United Kingdom and significant wireless communications coverage to 68% of the top 100 United States markets, more than 95 per cent of the UK population and more than 92 percent of the Australian population.
Proforma for all closed and previously announced transactions, Crown Castle owns, operates and manages over 11,000 wireless communication towers internationally. Crown Castle UK Limited, a subsidiary of Crown Castle International Corp, operates more than 2,000 sites across the UK. Broadcast customers in the UK include the BBC, ONdigital, Virgin Radio and talkSPORT.
Manx Telecom was formed in 1987 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT. The company holds the licence to run both the fixed and mobile network on the Isle of Man, a successful offshore finance centre which currently enjoys the fastest-growing GDP in Europe. Manx Telecom also has a high quality Internet services portfolio and is a key player in the Isle of Man Government's strategy to position the island as the leading offshore e-commerce centre in the world.
Virgin Radio, the home of Ten Great Songs in a Row, has a weekly audience of around 4 million listeners. Virgin Radio broadcasts on 1215AM Nationwide and 105.8FM in London and the South East. Virgin Radio is one of the world's most popular web radio stations. It is wholly owned by SMG plc.
Visit our website on: www.virginradio.co.uk
This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on management's belief as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Although Crown Castle believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Such statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Should one or more of these risks materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected. More information about potential factors, which could affect the company's financial results, is included in the Risk Factors sections of the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Crown Castle assumes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.