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Terra, Telef�nica Moviles Pact Wireless Net Strategy

Terra Networks, S.A. and Telefónica Móviles unveiled joint plans this week to promote wireless Internet services in the Spanish market and to further exploit Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) technology.

According to Telefonica, Terra will combine its experience as provider of Internet services, applications and content with Telefonica Moviles' domination of mobile phone technology.

"These sorts of agreements aim to extend the usefulness of mobile phones to the services and applications you find on the Net," said Miguel Menchen, Wireless Internet general manager for Telefónica Móviles.

"In particular, [they aim] to ease access from anywhere and at any time to all sorts of information and to wireless e-commerce."

This is not the companies' first joint endeavor.

Both firms, members of the Grupo Telefónica, have already developed the OLEADA portal, which offers applications, services and content available both via Internet and through mobile phones equipped with WAP technology.

OLEADA services currently allow anyone with Web access to send text messages via Internet to any GSM system mobile phone.

Likewise, MoviStar Net allows mobile phone clients to check their e-mail via mobile handsets, and MoviStar Correo allows them to send, receive and respond to e-mail.

Terra is one of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world's main Internet service and content providers, with more than 1 million customers. Its portals in Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Argentina and the U.S. receive more than 33 million visits monthly.

Telefónica Móviles, with nine million clients, is Spain's leading mobile phone operator.

The company's research and development efforts over the last year have focused on the integration of Internet and cell phone technologies, improved cell phone data access rates, and the creation of Internet and Intranet message services.

Telefónica Móviles has also created a special Wireless Internet division aimed at turning mobile phones into Net terminals that are "always on."

Telefónica isn't Spain's only wireless Internet provider. Since receiving its GSM operator license in 1995, Airtel Movil, S.A. has employed its Airtelnet service to offer e-mail and messaging services via mobile phone.