RealTime IT News

ebookers.com Allies with France Telecom

[May 24] European online travel company ebookers.com said Wednesday it has entered an alliance with France Telecom that will give it access to the French telco's growing WAP customer base and 1.3 million Wanadoo ISP users.

ebookers.com has an online subsidiary in France called La Compagnie des Voyages which will now provide search results in French to France Telecom's online communication channels. Besides Wanadoo and the WAP service they include the Voila portal and its WAP equivalent Voila Mobile.

Dinesh Dhamija, chief executive officer of ebookers.com, said that the new partnership underlined ebookers.com's commitment to keep strengthening its brand in Europe.

"France is a key market for us, and partnering with France Telecom, the leading French telecommunications player, provides us with direct access to a major proportion of French Internet users, and it gives us a first-mover advantage with its potentially huge WAP user base," said Dhamija.

Although WAP services are not yet widely available, France Telecom has ordered 5 million WAP mobiles for the next 7 months, and WAP portal Voila Mobile will be launched in June.

In February 2000, ebookers.com formed an alliance with AOL Europe, covering France and 8 other European countries. Recently it signed a WAP deal with BT Cellnet in the U.K., further strengthening its multi-channel access.

As an independent online European travel agency, ebookers.com faces stiff competition from airlines that plan to sell tickets and other services direct to the public. However, by continually adding to its own services it hopes to keep at least one step ahead of the competition.

Originally a spin-off from Flightbookers plc, ebookers.com operates in eleven countries: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.