Pronto Networks Powers Free Wi-Fi Hot Zone at CTIA Wireless 2005

CTIA Wireless 2005 attendees can get free Wi-Fi service outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans’ Historic Warehouse District

New Orleans – CTIA Wireless 2005 – March 14, 2005 – Pronto Networks, a leading provider of carrier-class OSS solutions for large-scale Wi-Fi hotspot networks and metro-scale hot zones, today announced that, in collaboration with SkyTel, Tropos Networks and Motorola, it has made available a multi city-block Wi-Fi hot zone in the historic Warehouse District of New Orleans just outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The free Wi-Fi network is part of a pilot project conducted by SkyTel, a wireless data and messaging subsidiary of MCI, and is available for all CTIA Wireless 2005 attendees and other visitors to the area for the duration of the conference from March 14-16, 2005.

For the trial deployment, SkyTel is using carrier-grade, back-office software and metro-scale equipment from several networking vendors. SkyTel is leveraging Pronto’s Operations Support System (OSS) for broadband wireless networks to provide captive portal services and subscriber management. Tropos’ MetroMesh routers are being used to extend the reach of Wi-Fi access throughout the coverage area and are being linked back to SkyTel’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via Motorola Canopy’s point-to-multipoint wireless platform.

“Metro-scale Wi-Fi deployments enable us to quickly and affordably deliver Wi-Fi to our existing subscribers, while simultaneously providing wireless broadband access to unserved or underserved communities in cooperation with local municipalities,” said Bruce Deer, president of SkyTel. “And the value of partnering with Pronto Networks is the ability to roll out robust, citywide networks that offer customized service plans and support for multiple user groups on the same network.”

“This trial deployment demonstrates how an innovative service provider, such as SkyTel, can quickly and affordably assemble a large-scale, wireless network using leading technologies from Pronto, Tropos and Motorola,” said Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto Networks. “We’re glad to be offering CTIA conference attendees and local residents the opportunity to experience the convenience and ease-of-use provided by the Wi-Fi hot zone, and we look forward to working with SkyTel and our technology partners in deploying other metro-wide networks in the near future.”

The trial network uses Pronto’s OSS software for broadband wireless networks and the Pronto Hotzone Gateway. Pronto’s OSS supports a ‘mixed use’ environment, allowing various user groups, such as public safety officials, residents and visitors, to securely share the same network while having customized service plans, splash pages and Quality of Service guarantees.
Pronto’s OSS also provides the capability to sublet excess network capacity to Virtual Network Operators (VNOs). The Pronto Hotzone Gateway is a 1U access gateway supporting up to 2000 concurrent users. Additional Hotzone Gateways increase the total amount of bandwidth available in a municipal hot zone and provide greater network reliability.

About Pronto Networks
Pronto Networks, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides carrier-class Operations Support Systems (OSS) that enable network operators to deploy and manage large public hot spot and hot zone networks. The company’s software handles provisioning, configuration, authentication, access control, security, pre-paid and post-paid billing, and roaming settlement for large public WLAN networks, in addition to remotely managing and updating multi-vendor hardware and Wi-Fi switches. Pronto Networks is funded by BV Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Intel Communications Fund. Pronto Networks was recently named to the AlwaysOn List of Top 100

Private Companies for the second consecutive year and in 2003 received Wired Magazine’s Top 25 Wi-Fi Companies to Watch and Computerworld’s Innovative Technology Awards. For more information about Pronto Networks, visit

About SkyTel
SkyTel Corp., a subsidiary of MCI, is a leading provider of wireless data services including traditional paging, text messaging, interactive two-way messaging, wireless email and wireless telemetry services. SkyTel continues to expand its product portfolio to include services such as FleetHawk Automated Vehicle Location (AVL), and telemetry services such as SkyTel Remote Access. For more information, go to

About MCI
MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCIP) is a leading global communications provider, delivering innovative, cost-effective, advanced communications connectivity to businesses, governments and consumers. With the industry’s most expansive global IP backbone, based on the number of company-owned points of presence, and wholly-owned data networks, MCI develops the converged communications products and services that are the foundation for commerce and communications in today’s market.

For more information, go to
Kristie Heins Fox for Pronto Networks Ruder Finn, Inc.
(312) 329-3985