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eBay Goes Wireless With SkyTel Partnership

Fans of online auctions will no longer have to access a computer to bid on items or check the status of an existing bid thanks to a partnership sealed Thursday between eBay Inc. and SkyTel Communications Inc.

The two are joining forces to create a wireless service that will allow eBay users to receive auction updates and make bids using wireless devices such as pagers, cell phones and personal digital assistants.

Bidders will be notified when they have been outbid in an auction or when they are the winning bidder. Sellers will be notified when their items are sold and all users will receive messages sent to all eBay members.

"Our users often tell us that they would like to follow eBay away from the home or the office. SkyTel will make it possible for eBay users to get the very latest information on items they are bidding on and selling when they are running errands, doing the shopping or driving the kids to school," said Steve Westly, eBay's vice president of marketing and business development.

The service is scheduled to be launched in July and is the first in a series of offerings eBay and SkyTel are planning. Later in the year, the two companies will roll out a service that will allow eBay members to increase their bids directly from wireless devices.