ATLANTA — Today, GTE introduced three mobile Internet services that give users what they want, when they want it and in a way that makes it useful.
"We saw that the existing wireless Internet services were not meeting the needs of customers," said Marc Lefar, vice president - marketing for GTE Wireless. "So we set out to solve the two biggest problems -- there's too much information on the Internet to be easily accessed on a wireless phone and it's too difficult to navigate through multiple web sites to get all the information you need while on the go."
To harness the volume of information, GTE Wireless is introducing a new personal web page (www.mygtew.com) that provides customers the ability to use their desktop PCs to tailor the exact information they want to see on their phone screens. Additionally, a user can instruct the web page to contact him when certain events occur, such as a stock hitting a certain price. Now, users have direct access to customized information, automatically and immediately.
To make Internet navigation more logical, GTE developed a service that allows users to move from one piece of related information to another with a simple click. For instance, a person thinking about going to a movie needs to know what movies are playing, where they're playing and at what times, and possibly how to get to the theater. GTE Wireless Mobile Internet services allow the user to look up the film listings, click quickly to reviews, then on to theater schedules and finally to directions, all by using the built-in logic of the service.
"There's no need to hunt and peck around on your phone pad trying to find the information you want," said Lefar. "With our service, you start with your first inquiry and drill down, one click at a time, until you have all the information you need. "The result," said Lefar, "is that we've taken what was an interesting toy for the technologically adept and we've turned it into a useful product for anyone on the go."
Getting started is fast and easy
To get started, a customer simply logs on to his personal My GTEW web page using his desktop PC, then begins selecting the specific information that he wants to see when using his wireless phone. This means that a college sports fan can get scores for all the teams in the NCAA or he can immediately access the scores for the teams in just his state. A business executive can see all the current news headlines and stories or she can immediately access her selected financial news. "It's all about getting the information that is relevant to you as an individual. You don't want to know how all the stocks in the Dow are doing. You want to know what YOUR stocks are doing," said Rob Keller, director of business marketing for GTE Wireless.
Along the same lines, customers can easily set up their web page to alert them on their wireless phone when selected events occur or specific information becomes available. For example, users can be alerted when a stock hits a certain price or when the latest Lotto numbers are announced. A person can even tell his web page to send him his horoscope each morning at a specific time.
"What's great about this part of our service, called Internet Text Messaging, is that it's available on all digital phones right now," said Keller. "That means that folks don't have to buy a new phone to begin enjoying Internet Text Messaging."
The My GTEW web site is designed and managed by InfoSpace.com, a leading provider of infrastructure services for consumers, merchants and wireless devices. "The value we bring to GTE is the ability to provide leading edge services to their mobile users today," said Naveen Jain, chairman and CEO, InfoSpace.com.
GTE Wireless Mobile Internet services
GTE Wireless Mobile Internet services include Wireless InfoManager, Internet Text Messaging and Wireless Office.
Wireless InfoManager ($9.95 per month in addition to the customer's qualified rate plan) provides the ability to view general and personalized Internet information as well as e-mail on a digital wireless-phone screen using a microbrowser that is built into the phone. InfoManager also includes a full calendar feature and address book. Today, this service requires the Qualcomm 860 or 2760 phone. More phone models will be available in the future.
Internet Text Messaging ($3.95 per month in addition to the customer's qualified rate plan), allows users to receive text messages and to be alerted when certain events of their choice occur. Users select the events through their personal web page, My GTEW. Internet Text Messaging is already a part of InfoManager or is available as an individual service. It works with any digital phone.
Wireless Office ($4.95 per month in addition to the customer's qualified rate plan) offers the convenience of wireless connection to the Internet and e-mail by connecting the phone to a laptop or PDA using a special cable ($79), but does not provide a phone-screen browser. No modem is needed. Wireless Office capabilities are also included in the InfoManager service and require the Qualcomm 860 or 2760 phone.
The tip of the iceberg
Lefar said the services being offered today are just a first taste of what will soon be available. "For instance, people will have the ability to make purchases with one click of the phone or to communicate through Instant Messaging from cell phone to cell phone or cell phone to desktop," he said.
Prices of the phones and accessories may vary. Minutes of use for data calls come out of a customer's rate plan included minutes and any additional minutes are billed at the same rate as voice calls. GTE is introducing the new services simultaneously in all of its digital cellular markets.
GTE will offer these services in all of its digital markets including: Akron, Austin, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Charleston, S. C., Chattanooga, Cleveland, Evansville, Greensboro, Hawaii, Houston, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Norfolk, Raleigh, Richmond, Roanoke, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Virginia Beach and the entire central west coast of Florida from the Tampa Bay area down to Ft. Myers
GTE Wireless provides wireless voice and data telecommunications services to more than 6.9 million customers in 18 states. GTE Wireless is a part of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE). With 1999 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 18 states, as well as nationwide long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents. Additional information about GTE can be obtained at http://www.gte.com.