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MindSpring, GRIC Partner to Provide Global Roaming

Globetrotting MindSpring Enterprises Inc. customers will soon be able to roam where they want to and stay connected to the Internet.

The national Internet service provider Thursday announced that it has teamed with GRIC Communications Inc. to offer global roaming services to MindSpring's 1.2 million U.S. subscribers.

Through access to the GRIC Alliance Network, MindSpring's dial-up customers will have secure access to the Internet from thousands of connection points around the world.

The new roaming service will enable MindSpring (MSPG) subscribers to browse the Web, access their e-mail, and even connect to company intranets via a secure VPN connection.

But the premium service comes with a premium price. MindSpring's roaming fees at 10 cents a minute billed directly to a subscriber's account, plus the cost of a local phone call.

Lance Weatherby, MindSpring executive vice president of consumer marketing, said they were impressed with GRIC's global network and their commitment to customer satisfaction.

"We selected GRIC because of its ability to consistently deliver high-quality, easy-to-use network access in a broad variety of locations around the world," Weatherby said. "The combination of GRIC's Alliance Network and MindSpring's renowned service and customer support will have great appeal to the international traveler."

As a part of the deal, GRIC will create a customized MindSpring version of its user-friendly local dial-up software. The programming renders the connection process down to a few simple steps and so subscribers can connect to the Internet from almost part of the world.

Kristin Steinmetz, GRIC senior vice president of marketing and business development, said the partnership reaffirms the company's leadership position in delivering value-added services to ISPs.

"Being selected by MindSpring reinforces GRIC's leadership position in the delivery of value-added Internet services for service providers," Steinmetz said. "Building relationships with leading service providers like MindSpring enables us to meet the dynamic needs of more end-users, helping people stay connected in today's fast paced, Internet-dependent world."

GRIC delivers their roaming services through the company's 450-member Alliance Network. GRIC serves more than 38 million dial-up customers through 4,000 local points-of-presence in 145 countries.