Vodacom launches a new vehicle tracking SIM card for South Africa

(PresseBox) ( JOHANNESBURG and VANCOUVER, )
Vodacom, South Africa's leading cellular network, together with Tracker and Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR - TSX: SW), has launched a world first with the introduction of a next generation SIM card for vehicle tracking, based on the inSIM(R) technology from Sierra Wireless.

The inSIM(R) embedded SIM component was designed and developed by Wavecom, now part of Sierra Wireless, a leading provider of wireless solutions for M2M (machine-to-machine) communication and mobile computing. This new technology will be deployed by Vodacom and will be used by Tracker, South Africa's leading stolen vehicle recovery and fleet management company. Vodacom provides Tracker with its network services.

Sierra Wireless' innovative inSIM(R) is a unique solution which embeds the SIM function into the Wireless CPU(R) at the component level, eliminating the use of the traditional plastic SIM card thus reducing the ability for third parties to tamper with the SIM card.

Wally Beelders, Executive Director of Vodacom Business says, "This is a revolutionary innovation and we're excited to be the first network operator to have this product commercially available in South Africa. Tracker will also be the first vehicle tracking company to offer Sierra Wireless' new technology as part of their tracking device".

According to Olivier Beaujard, Vice President of Market Development at Sierra Wireless, the inSIM(R)-enabled devices are able to operate in extreme temperatures and are resistant to vibration. "Our inSIM solution is a great fit for the vehicle tracking industry as it reduces the chance of the SIM being stolen and used for other purposes, while also reducing the space required for the tracking device, making it smaller and easier to install."

Carel Wessels, Technical Director of Tracker, says the company has already run a series of pilot tests with the solution and it has proved to be an overwhelming success.

"Very soon this new technology will be a standard feature on the SkyTrax product. The higher temperature and vibration specifications will make the SkyTrax product even more reliable and allows us to stay ahead regarding the stringent requirements from vehicle manufacturers."

Vodacom says its partnership with Sierra Wireless will allow it to explore a variety of different machine-to-machine and telemetry solution options in the coming months.

"We believe we have only scratched the surface of this market and will be exploring a variety of different uses for this technology over the coming months," says Beelders.

About Vodacom Business

Vodacom Business was launched in February 2008 and offers a total communications service portfolio to corporate customers. Vodacom Business has invested in significant infrastructure and has a Tier 1 internet network capability as well as a corporate grade national MPLS VPN.

Vodacom Business services include next-generation IP voice, managed networks and infrastructure, internet access, hosting and storage. In 2008, Vodacom Business launched a dedicated internet access service and also a broadband internet access service. It also launched a managed MPLS VPN service together with a managed enterprise voice and VoIP gateway in April 2008 and May 2008, respectively. These service offerings are supported by a new data centre at the headquarters in Midrand, the development of a soft switch and the development of a client services operations centre.

The acquisition of Gateway provides an opportunity to leverage Vodacom Business across sub-Saharan Africa. Gateway currently serves major corporate clients in over 40 countries across Africa. Such services include wireless broadband access, internet, enterprise solutions, VPNs and enterprise voice and data over satellite infrastructure.

About Tracker

Since Tracker's inception in South Africa in 1996, the company has recovered some 47 000 stolen and hijacked vehicles which has resulted in over 8000 arrests - the most, on either score, of any vehicle tracking company on the continent.

Following its merger with MobileData in 2007, the Tracker of today is a highly sophisticated technology company offering leading edge Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR) and Fleet Management/Telematics solutions to both individuals and companies throughout Southern Africa.

Tracker's SVR technology is currently in use in 30 countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Russia, Italy, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

Such has been Tracker's success that its brand name has become a generic term given to vehicle tracking devices in South Africa - evidence of the company's runaway success over the past 13 years.

Tracker is also the only vehicle tracking company in South Africa to benefit from a formal partnership with the South African Police Service, having just won the National SAPS Vehicle Tracking Contract for another five years. This means that Tracker's recovery technology is fitted to some 1300 vehicles and almost 50 aircraft ensuring that Tracker is not only able to operate with the 'power of arrest', but that it has the largest recovery arsenal in the country. The Tracker-SAPS partnership is widely considered the most successful private-public sector collaboration ever seen in South Africa.
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