BEDMINSTER, NJ — Bell Atlantic Mobile next week will deliver the World Wide Web into the hands of consumers and mobile professionals with the introduction of easy-to-use wireless access to the Internet. On November 17, the company will launch Web Access in all of its East Coast markets, featuring Web-enabled digital wireless phones that have built-in modems so customers can surf the Web, send and receive e-mail, get real- time stock market analysis and quotes, and set up customized personal Web pages.
For just $9.95 a month, in addition to their digital voice price plans, Web Access customers also gain interactive wireless connectivity to Web-based content providers on demand, like on-line travel information and reservations, real-time airline flight status reports, and door-to-door travel directions.
Web Access Microbrowser provides a lightning-quick connection to the Internet, at least five times faster than the standard landline modem. Web Access Microbrowser customers will also benefit from a wireless personal organizer, and access to more than 20 leading content providers, including:
- TheTrip.com -- the on-line source for travel and flight reservations, real-time flight tracking, designed for mobile professionals and business travelers
- Bloomberg -- the latest business news, stock quotes, financial data and company profiles from 75 news bureaus worldwide
- WhoWhere? -- the leading Web directory with nearly 100 million listings
- AccuWeather -- customized weather forecasts and updates from around the globe
Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Global Wireless, plans to discuss the company's Web Access rollout this afternoon at The Yankee Group's 7th Annual Wireless Mobile Conference, "Mobile.Net: The Next Generation of Wireless" in Manhattan.
"We're offering the mass consumer market a simple and inexpensive way of connecting to the Internet and e-mail wirelessly, using the same digital handset they use for wireless voice service," said Strigl. "When you combine Web Access' ease of use, mobility and comprehensive content with the American appetite for e-mail and the Internet, it's clear why Bell Atlantic Mobile expects this service to increase mainstream demand for wireless data services."
With 40 million mobile professionals in the U.S. requiring constant access to e-mail, corporate intranets and inventory, and various on-line services, wireless data is a market the Yankee Group predicts will grow from $1.8 billion this year to $13.2 billion by 2003.
HOW TO GET CONNECTED
Bell Atlantic Mobile customers can sign on for Web Access for just $9.95 a month on top of their DigitalChoice? voice price plans, which begin as low as $19.99 a month. Customers will simply share the monthly bundle of access minutes between their voice and data service. Unlike some competitors' offers, which penalize customers for combining voice and data usage by offering smaller minute bundles than their voice-only customers get, Bell Atlantic Mobile makes it easy by offering one set of plans that cater to both voice and data usage.
Equipped with a Qualcomm 860 digital phone featuring a built-in microbrowser, customers can access the aforementioned Internet sites that have been specially formatted for wireless phone screens. The phone is available for $119.99, about one quarter the cost of some competitors' phone offerings for wireless Internet access. Next month, the company plans to offer additional Web-enabled phones, including the Qualcomm PDQ 800, which has a built-in personal digital assistant, and the Motorola StarTac 7860.
For customers who prefer to use a laptop for full Web browsing complete with color and graphics, a connection kit for $79.99 supplies a data cable to connect the phone and a notebook with a full-size screen.
One of the great benefits of Web Access is the personal organizer, which provides customers with a personal web page to update their calendar, address book/contact lists, and bookmarks either from the Web or their wireless phone.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is a leader in offering wireless data solutions, including wireless credit card verification and point-of-sale applications, remote meter reading, access to criminal databases from laptops in police cars, wireless mugshots and wireless Automated Teller Machines over its wireless packet network. The company has close to 200,000 customers using wireless data, and also provides the option of flat-rate wireless access to the Internet from laptops, PDAs and Windows CE devices.
"We have years of experience in the implementation and management of commercial IP networks," said Strigl. "Most other carriers are just getting their feet wet when offering wireless data services."
To sign up for Web Access or other wireless data offerings, customers can call 1-800-308-DATA or visit Bell Atlantic Mobile Communications Stores. For more information, click onto the company's website at www.bam.com.
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East and systems in the Southwest, covering 180,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.9 million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas. Through its "Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses its technology to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent, Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is one of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell Atlantic Mobile visit: www.bam.com; on global operations visit: www.bellatlantic.com/worldwide.