10/23/2003 - Statoil is the only service station chain in Europe equipped to offer wireless access to its customers. The wireless access solution is already in place in 80 Statoil stations throughout Norway. By year-end 300 Statoil stations throughout the country will offer secure wireless access to its customers. Statoil has teamed up with Telenor in order to unwire its service stations. The solution used is based on software technology from Birdstep Technology, a Norwegian software development company specializing in software for secure access and mobility.
The deployment is one of Europe's largest Wi-Fi ('wireless fidelity') rollouts and Statoil is the first major gas station chain to offer its customers wireless access. The solution, based on industry-standard WLAN technology (Wireless Local Area Network), allows business and private users to access E-mail and Internet Services from Statoil Petrol Stations all over Norway.
Just a few weeks after the launch, Statoil has signed up more than 800 subscribers and is adding new subscribers at a rate of 20-30 per day. Clearly there is a large demand for a gas station-based hotspot service in Norway.
The new service, called Wireless Zone, gives Statoil a competitive advantage over the other service station chains. It is designed to realize a substantial productivity gain for customers by allowing them to maintain a high-speed wireless data connection on laptop PCs and PDA's while visiting a Statoil gas station.
The 300 stations to be installed by year-end represent the Statoil stations in Norway that are within range of Telenor's DSL service. Statoil will also consider deploying hotspots to the additional 500 stations located elsewhere in Scandinavia, according to Stein-André Larner, product manager for wireless technology in Telenor.
Wireless Internet access is a rapidly growing technology. A wide range of consumer electronics is shipped with wireless networking built in. Aimed at both business and private users, the Statoil and Telenor alliance enters a market where 90% of the laptop PCs is expected to be Wi-Fi enabled by 2005 (source: Gartner Group).
As part of Telenor's strategy of taking a more holistic view to the Norwegian home market customer base, it is possible to roam between existing Telenor Wi-Fi spots and the new Statoil installations. That means that existing Telenor mobile and ADSL customers can utilise the new Statoil's service and Statoil customers can use Telenor's existing installations, thus broadening the coverage of Wi-Fi access even further.
Solution from Birdstep
Birdstep Wireless Access Software suite consists of the Birdstep IP Zone Server for secure access and authentication, the Nomadic Portal for device-independent publication of local information by means of XML structured content, and the Billing Abstraction Layer for implementing various billing methods, such as micro payments, subscription memberships, etc. The solution supports high-speed access to information and services for users of PDAs, laptops and mobile phones. Secure and continuous connectivity between WLAN Zones and GSM/GPRS networks is achieved by means of integrated support for Mobile IP.
About Birdstep Technology
Birdstep Technology is traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) under ticker 'BIRD'. The company has headquarters in Oslo and Seattle in addition to offices in London, Boston and San Francisco. Birdstep's small footprint, high performance database technologies combined with its wireless roaming and access software enables companies to build innovative solutions for embedded systems and the Mobile Internet. Birdstep makes your information accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device and on any infrastructure. Birdstep's global customers include 3Com (COMS), VERITAS (VRTS), Harman Becker Automotive Systems, HP (HPQ), Accenture (ACN), Telenor (TELN), PCTel (PCTI), Connect One and the National Stock Exchange of India. For more information, visit www.birdstep.com.
Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Telenor is an international provider of high quality telecommunications, data and media communication services. Telenor is one of Norway's largest companies with revenues in 2002 of approx. NOK 48.8 billion and a work-force of 22,100 domestically and abroad. Telenor is listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange (TEL) and Nasdaq in New York (TELN).
About Statoil Detaljhandel AS
Statoil operates some 2,000 service stations in nine countries, of which 490 stations in Norway. The Statoil stations provide automotive fuels, car accessories and simple vehicle service. Most also offer fast food, convenience products and groceries. Automated car washes as well as car/trailer hire are available at a number of outlets. A separate company, Statoil Detaljhandel Skandinavia, which is owned 50-50 by the group and Sweden's ICA supermarket chain, operates the Scandinavian stations.
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