RealTime IT News

AT&T, BT Wireless Union Connects the World

AT&T Wireless Group Inc. and BT Wireless late Tuesday introduced the pacts first two communication services designed to enhance the global reach of wire-free voice and data communications.

Dubbed WorldConnect and WorldView, the service offerings are a first in a series of global products and services developed by the alliance formed in September 1999.

WorldConnect offers wireless phone users the ability to take their full-featured connections with them from a single phone number to more than 100 countries worldwide and 7,000 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

WorldView provides multi-national corporations with the ability to manage their international wireless services worldwide.

Advance, the BT and AT&T Corp. wireless hybrid firm established by the two companies, completed an Asian trial of its mobile data packet delivery services in March 2000, as part of a deal with SmarTone of Hong Kong and Taiwan's FarEasTone.

The alliance that married AT&T Wireless' Time Division Multiple Access functions with BT Wireless' Global Standard for Mobile Communications technology are integrated to the point that wireless voice and data services may go global.

The union of TDMA and GSM creates a migration path for packet transport, making high-speed mobile data delivery possible on a global scale. It means that business travellers are able to communicate over the wireless IP network from a single phone number that allows for global roaming.

John Zeglis, AT&T Wireless Group chairman and chief executive officer, said the hybrid product development provides customers with the opportunity to eliminate boundaries set by technology and geography.

"When we announced our alliance, we said our primary objective was to provide seamless mobile communications services around the world," Zeglis. "This announcement is the first step toward realizing that goal."

Peter Erskine, BT Wireless chief executive, said the companies so called "Advance" program would change the nature of wireless communications the world over.

"This is a tremendous step forward for both BT and AT&T," Erskine said. "We believe Advance will progressively strengthen our global market reach by being the compelling choice for multinational corporations."

BT Wireless also introduced its secure real-time and synchronized corporate e-mail service for business customers based on AT&T PocketNet technology.

BT's PocketNet program makes Microsoft Outlook accessible over a wireless phone, personal organizer or other wireless device. BT is in the process of rolling the service out through its international ventures sales channel for corporate customers.

The initial list of companies that intend to support the Advance product line-up includes AT&T Wireless in the U.S., AirTel of India, BT Cellnet in the U.K., Concert, the BT, AT&T wireless offshoot in the U.S. and U.K., Esat Digifone in Ireland, Far EasTone in Taiwan, Maxis of Malaysia, Rogers AT&T Wireless in Canada, SmarTone of Hong Kong, Telenor in Norway, and Telfort of the Netherlands.

Combined, BT and AT&T together provide wireless services to more than 60 million customers in 20 countries.