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AT&T Pins E-commerce Hopes With Qpass

AT&T Corp. went shopping for a secure, multi-platform commerce solution and found a bargain with Qpass.

Qpass' ability to provide one-click secure shopping for AT&T's PocketNet and WorldNet customers sold the company on an idea that's already caught the fancy of companies and organizations like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the National Hockey League.

With the Qpass-powered eWallet, online shoppers fill out a one-time form with credit card and personal information. When they make a purchase with one of AT&T's participating merchants, the relevant information is sent from Qpass' secure server to the merchant and grabs the receipt for verification.

The stakes are huge in an international e-commerce industry that will see a staggering $1.6 trillion in online purchases in 2003, according to a report by the IDC. In its report, The Global Market Forecast For Internet Usage and Commerce, IDC states 29 percent of Internet users shop online, a number that will grow to 38 percent by 2003.

David Emberley, IDC research analyst, said online shopping will pick up steam, moving away from the U.S. and into foreign waters.

"This increased likelihood to buy will be driven by greater availability of products, improved buyer confidence in security, and enhanced local language sites for international buyers," Emberley said. "The U.S. currently dominates ecommerce, but this will be the last year it accounts for the majority of Web spending as the number of international buyers increases and international business-to-business Web transactions become more commonplace."

The U.S., which currently makes up 62 percent of the world online market, will drop to 48 percent in 2003, the report states. Which means U.S. companies will need convenient, safe and reliable products to attract and keep customers to cash in on the expected windfall.

Thomas Trinneer, AT&T Wireless Services vice president of data product development, believes his company has found that product, which works regardless of platform, bridging a gap in wireless and wired commerce for AT&T subscribers.

"Engaging in mobile commerce via wireless devices must be simple, fast and secure, and Qpass makes that possible," Trinneer said. "With its secure and convenient transaction and purchasing capabilities, the Qpass powered AT&T eWallet streamlines not only the mobile purchasing experience but enables us to add commerce, promotions and discounts to the range of services we can offer all AT&T Digital PocketNet and AT&T WorldNet users."

AT&T's Internet arm isn't going into the deal blind, however. It likely went with Qpass after getting the nod from AT&T Wireless , which has been using the online solution for its eMinutes prepaid wireless phone payment service since the end of June

Online commerce has taken a beating this year, with customer support and security problems plaguing the industry. Earlier this year several malicious hackers, called crackers, broke into popular commerce sites and publicized hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and personal customer information.



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