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RealTime IT News

BT and Microsoft Launch Wireless Internet Trials

BT and Microsoft announced Wednesday that they are starting a trial of wireless Internet services with four major corporate customers.

The trial, which starts this month, will involve around 1,000 mobile phone users in the UK and Norway. It is being conducted with users at the BBC, Credit Suisse First Boston, KPMG LLP and Nortel Networks, with help from business partner Telenor Mobil.

During the trial, users will test sending and receiving email, accessing personalised web content and using Microsoft Exchange based calendaring -- all from their mobile phones. BT and Microsoft recently signed development agreements with France-based Sagem and Korea-based Samsung, both leading manufacturers of mobile equipment.

"Through this important collaboration, BT and Microsoft will enable their corporate customers to use vital computing and Internet-based business applications whilst on the move," said Sohail Qadri, BT's director of mobility.

"For the first time, it will be possible for these companies to use mobile handsets to send and receive emails and operate an electronic diary working directly into a corporate server in real-time."

Qadri noted that the global mobile data market has a 75 per cent compound annual growth rate and is expected to be worth over $80 billion by 2005.

The latest trial follows successful internal tests by BT and Microsoft, and is being conducted to assess the market and gather feedback on how customers will actually use mobile data services. The two companies say they are planning a "sizeable commercial deployment" early next year.