SAN FRANCISCO — AirTouch Cellular, part of Vodafone AirTouch (NYSE and LSE:VOD) today introduced its first phone-based wireless Internet service, Mobile Web, in digital markets throughout Ohio and Michigan, and in Washington and Oregon, ahead of an expanded launch planned for second quarter.
Mobile Web offers AirTouch digital customers access to Internet content, e-mail, e-commerce, mobile-originated messaging and address book and calendar functions through mobile Internet-ready phones. Now the wireless phone truly becomes a communications hub by providing access to both voice and data communication. It will bring a new level of freedom from the traditional desktop computer, with customers able to get news, sports scores, stock quotes, travel information, movie schedules and more by simply pressing a few buttons on their phone. Users can customize their preferences from the phone or a PC at http://my.airtouch.net.
"In today's fast-paced environment, Mobile Web gives consumers the ability to remain connected by getting a wealth of Internet information on their wireless phones," said Arun Sarin, chief executive officer of Vodafone AirTouch's USA/Asia Pacific region. "All indications are that Mobile Web with its wireless Internet access is just scratching the surface of what's ahead in wireless."
AirTouch's Mobile Web is bundled with digital wireless voice service and is totally unique from other wireless Web services in several ways:
There is no incremental monthly access fee for Mobile Web. Voice and Internet minutes are billed at the same low rate.
All AirTouch customers have a free, personal home page which includes e-mail at http://my.airtouch.net. The home page can be used to personalize the service from a phone, desktop or laptop PC.
Mobile Web customers can send short text messages from the phone to other AirTouch customer phones or digital pagers.
"AirTouch's Mobile Web has the winning combination of features: simple pricing with Internet minutes priced the same as voice, easy set-up, great content, and the ability to customize the service from a phone or PC. Further, AirTouch has demonstrated a greater concern for customer privacy by not passing the customer's phone number to Web sites," said Andrew M. Seybold, editor-in-chief of Andrew Seybold's Outlook.
Mobile Web works with new Mobile Internet-ready digital phones, including the Samsung 850, Qualcomm 860 and Neopoint 1600 (available in late spring). Other phones will be available shortly from Motorola and Audiovox.
AirTouch's Mobile Web includes access to leading MSN content and services including MSN Hotmail, Expedia.com, MSN Money Central and MSNBC.com through MSN Mobile. Mobile Web also features Amazon.com for 1-click purchasing from the mobile phone.
This new service is the second Mobile Internet offering from AirTouch Cellular. The first, Net Access, provides a wireless, digital connection to the Internet or a business network through a laptop computer or PDA.
AirTouch serves nearly 10 million U.S. cellular and PCS customers on a proportionate basis. Its ventures operate in 25 states and 22 of the top 30 U.S. markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. AirTouch is part of Vodafone AirTouch Plc, the world's largest wireless communications firm, based in the United Kingdom. It has mobile operations in 24 countries on five continents, with more than 35.5 million proportionate cellular customers. For more information, visit the AirTouch Web site at www.airtouch.com. For more information about Mobile Web, go to www.airtouch.com/mobilei.
Except for the historical information presented, the matters discussed in this release are forward-looking statements and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Such factors include: a change in economic conditions in the various markets served by AirTouch's (the "Company") operations which would adversely affect the level of demand for wireless services; intensified competitive activity requiring reduced pricing and/or new product offerings or resulting in an increased rate of customers terminating service (churn); slower customer growth as customers choose to receive service from other providers, and higher customer selling costs; declining average revenue per customer due to an increasing proportion of consumer customers and declining rates; growth in customers and usage driving increased investment in network capacity; the level of fraudulent activity; the impact of new business opportunities requiring significant up-front investments; the impact on capital spending from the deployment of new technologies; and the possibility that technologies will not perform according to expectations or that vendor performance will not meet requirements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are valid as of the date of this document. The Company has no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.