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AOL, Sprint Launch Wireless Messenger Service

Sprint PCS and America Online Inc. Thursday launched AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service on Internet-ready Sprint PCS Phones.

Sprint PCS provides wireless access to the AOL Instant Messenger service via its all-digital, all-PCS wireless network. Browsers are built directly into the phones, eliminating the need for special software to download.

"By offering wireless instant messaging on the Sprint PCS Wireless Web, we are providing customers with an additional option when deciding how they want to communicate with others on their wireless phones," said Charles Levine, chief operating officer of Sprint PCS.

"As the worlds of the Internet and wireless continue to converge, Sprint PCS is pleased to announce the nationwide launch of what we believe is the next transformation of the Wireless Web: instant messaging on wireless phones," he said.

Through the AIM service, users can send and receive messages in real-time directly from any of more than 15 models of Internet-ready Sprint PCS Phones.

Features of AIM include sending and receiving private text messages in real-time with others directly from their wireless phones. Through the service's Buddy List feature, users will know when personal contacts are connected online and available to receive instant messages -- whether they are on the Sprint PCS nationwide wireless network or on their PC.

Additional features include Quick Reply, which allows customers to select from several stored responses and questions, such as "How's it going?", "Thanks," "Goodbye" or "Where are you?", all with a single tap; Web Alerts, which links the user directly to the new message on the Sprint PCS Wireless Web; and privacy preferences, which lets users choose the individuals from whom they want to receive an instant message.

AIM is a new component of the AOL Mobile service that launched on the Sprint PCS Wireless Web in July 2000. By using an Sprint PCS Phone, customers can connect to AOL Mobile services, including access to e-mail, news, weather and stock quotes, as well as local content from AOL's Digital City, MapQuest and MovieFone.

Sprint PCS customers can also maintain and manage their personalized AIM Buddy List on the Sprint PCS Wireless Web. AOL or AIM screen names can be added to their Buddy List directly from Internet-ready Sprint PCS Phones, so customers can see whenever people they want to reach are online to begin instant communication.