MENLO PARK, Calif. — E*TRADE Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGRP) today announced it has signed an agreement with Verizon Wireless, with more than 16 million customers the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S., that provides E*TRADE customers with easy access to transaction capabilities, account services and real-time financial information using Verizon Wireless' coast-to-coast wireless footprint. Reinforcing E*TRADE's position as the leader in the online financial services industry worldwide, the relationship with Verizon Wireless, E*TRADE's first with a wireless carrier, is expected to significantly enhance the customer experience. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal with Verizon Wireless will enable E*TRADE to reach wireless customers across the U.S. through Verizon Wireless' industry-leading customer base and extensive footprint, helping position E*TRADE to become the No. 1 all-electronic financial services player on the mobile platform. Verizon Wireless Web Access customers using browser-enabled digital phones will be able to access E*TRADE content and conduct financial transactions by the end of June.
"The establishment of this alliance is an important example of E*TRADE's commitment to enhancing the total experience of individual investors and giving them the tools they need to successfully manage their personal finances," said Jerry Gramaglia, chief marketing officer, E*TRADE Group, Inc. "Through the relationship with Verizon Wireless, we will be able to provide our customers with the information that's most relevant to them, where they want it, when they want it. The future of wireless financial services is happening right now, and E*TRADE is again leading the way by leveraging innovative technology to enhance access and value for the customer."
Verizon Wireless was recently formed by the combination of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone AirTouch's U.S. cellular, paging and PCS businesses. The company has more than 16 million customers coast to coast, and will cover nearly 90 percent of the population with the nation's premier wireless network following the close of the Bell Atlantic - GTE merger, which is targeted for the second quarter.
The new service will give Verizon Wireless' growing number of web-enabled digital phone subscribers access to E*TRADE's award-winning commerce and content offerings. Initial capabilities will include full trading functionality, real-time quotes, news and commentary, securities and market research, access to IPO information and bulletins, customizable portfolio management and account information and services. Future versions will include integrated banking services and further personalization capabilities.
The agreement represents another step for Verizon Wireless in moving its Internet Everywhere strategy forward.
"Verizon Wireless is committed to introducing a complete range of customized information services for our growing number of wireless Internet access customers, and with this relationship with E*TRADE, we have quickly delivered," said Debra Carroll, vice president of marketing for Verizon Wireless. "Our strategy is to partner with proven Web content leaders, like E*TRADE, to give our customers the best of the Internet, combined with the convenience and mobility of our nationwide wireless service."
The adoption of wireless devices in the U.S. is rapidly increasing. New York-based research group Jupiter Communications predicts the total wireless data subscriber base in the U.S. will exceed 100 million by 2003.
E*TRADE, a global leader in online personal financial services, is the world's most-visited online investing site according to Media Metrix (2/00), offering value-added investing and research features, premium customer service and a redundant, proprietary Stateless ArchitectureSM infrastructure. In addition to the US, E*TRADE presently serves customers through branded web sites in Denmark, Korea, Japan, the U.K., Sweden, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. E*TRADE has been recognized as a leader in online financial services by Gomez Advisors, Lafferty Information and Research Group, PC Magazine and Smart Computing magazine. E*TRADE Securities Inc. (Member NASD/SIPC), and its parent company, E*TRADE Group, Inc. have offices in Northern California and in other major business centers in the US and worldwide. E*TRADE is a registered trademark of E*TRADE Securities, Inc.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with over 16 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets from Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging.
Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the U.S. wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. When the merger is complete, the new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90% of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets.
Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.
E*TRADE, Destination E*TRADE and Stateless Architecture are registered trademarks or trademarks of E*TRADE Securities, Inc. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners. The statements contained in this news release that are forward-looking are based on current expectations that are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks, and actual results may differ materially. The uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to, changes in market activity, market acceptance of the Destination E*TRADE web site, anticipated increases in the rate of new customer acquisition, the conversion of new visitors to the site to customers, seasonality, the development of new products and services, the enhancement of existing products and services, competitive pressures (including price competition), system failures, economic and political conditions, changes in consumer behavior and the introduction of competing products having technological and/or other advantages. Further information about these risks and uncertainties can be found in the information included in the annual report filed by the company with the SEC on Form 10-K (including information under the caption "Risk Factors") and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. System and access response time may vary due to market, system and other conditions.