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Consumer-Industry Consensus Reached Through ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubator on Alternative to FCC 'Fifty-Percent' Rule

April 24, 2007, Washington, DC ATIS announced today that wireless service providers, wireless manufacturers and advocates for consumers with hearing loss have reached consensus on an alternative to the Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) requirements (47 CFR 20.19) mandating that service providers make at least fifty-percent of the mobile wireless devices they offer hearing aid compatible by February 18, 2008. The alternative, developed by the ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Incubator, was described in the 50% Alternative Proposal filed by ATIS with the FCC in WT Docket No 06-203. This landmark proposal represents a significant achievement on behalf of the wireless industry and representatives of consumers with hearing loss to reach consensus on hearing aid compatibility in mobile communications devices.

The consensus agreement contains commitments from both carriers and manufacturers to address major consumer concerns. It increases the number of telecoil-rated (T-rated) phones as well as the number of microphone-rated (M-rated) phones that will be offered to consumers with hearing loss. By providing greater minimum numbers of T-rated phones than originally required and a greater number of M-rated phones than currently required, the proposal provides more choice in cell phones for all consumers.

The FCC ruling for 2008 required that fifty-percent of service provider and manufacturer offerings be an M-3 rating or higher. However, it did not provide for an increased number of T- rated phones, which are used by consumers with the greatest hearing loss. The alternative proposal produced by the ATIS HAC Incubator also addresses other consumer concerns, including product refresh and provision for new technologies.

This is a momentous agreement achieved through the hard work of the wireless industry and consumer advocates for individuals with hearing loss, said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller. ATIS is pleased with the outcome of the consensus agreement and is equally pleased in the role it has played in facilitating this important proposal.

A copy of the ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubators fifty-percent alternative proposal is available online at: www.atis.org/hac/haclinks.asp See AISP.4 HAC Public Notices.

About the ATIS Hearing Aid Compatibility Incubator

The ATIS HAC Incubator works to identify and address key technical issues related to the advancement of the ANSI C63.19 Standard and achieving a broad range of hearing aid compatible wireless devices as required by the FCC. For more information on the ATIS HAC Incubators activities, visit the ATIS Web site at www.atis.org/hac/

About ATIS

ATIS is a leading standards development and technical planning organization committed to rapidly developing and promoting technical and operations standards for the communications and related information technologies industry worldwide using a pragmatic, flexible and open approach. Participants from more than 300 communications companies are active in ATIS 22 industry committees, Incubator Solutions Program, and other activities. www.atis.org

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