RealTime IT News

E*Trade Seals Wireless Pact

E*Trade Group Inc. Tuesday took aim at the increasing number of wireless users, signing a deal with Verizon Wireless to provide E*Trade customers with easy access to transaction capabilities, account services and real-time financial information using Verizon Wireless' coast-to-coast footprint.

This relationship is E*Trade's first with a wireless carrier and is expected to significantly enhance the customer experience. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The deal will enable E*Trade (EGRP) to reach wireless customers across the U.S. through Verizon Wireless' industry-leading customer base and extensive footprint, helping to position E*Trade to become the number one all-electronic financial services player on the mobile platform. Verizon Wireless Web Access customers using browser-enabled digital phones will be able to access E*Trade content and conduct financial transactions by the end of June.

"The establishment of this alliance is an important example of E*Trade's committment to enhancing the total experience of individual investors and giving them the tools they need to successfully manage their personal finances," said Jerry Gramaglia, chief marketing officer, E*Trade Group Inc.

"Through the relationship with Verizon Wireless, we will be able to provide our customers with the information that's most relevant to them, where they want it, when they want it. The future of wireless financial services is happening right now, and E*Trade is again leading the way by leveraging innovative technology to enhance access and value for the customer."

Verizon Wireless was recently formed by the combination of Vodafone AirTouch's cellular, paging and PCS businesses. Following the close of the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger targeted for the second quarter, the company will cover nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population and 96 of the top 100 U.S. wireless markets, with 232 million net POPs.

The new service will give Verizon Wireless' growing number of Web-enabled digital phone subscribers access to E*Trade's award-winning commerce and content offerings. Initial capabilities will include full trading functionality, real-time quotes, news and commentary, securities and market research, access to IPO information and bulletins, customizable portfolio management and account information and services. Future versions will include integrated banking services and further personilization capabilities.

"Verizon Wireless is committed to introducing a complete range of customized information services for our growing number of wireless Internet access customers, and with this relationship with E*Trade, we have quickly delivered," said Debra Carroll, vice president of marketing for Verizon Wireless. "Our strategy is to partner with proven Web content leaders like E*Trade to give our customers the best of the Internet combined with the convenience and mobility of our nationwide wireless service."

The adoption of wireless devices in the U.S. is rapidly increasing. New York-based research group Jupiter Communications predicts the total wireless data subscriber base in the U.S. will exceed 100 million by 2003.