RealTime IT News

InfoSpace Lands SBC Wireless Deal

InfoSpace Inc. picked up another lucrative wireless deal Wednesday when the content provider teamed up with SBC Wireless to rollout is national mobile Internet services.

SBC Wireless tapped InfoSpace for its new wire-free Internet services scheduled to be available through its subsidiaries in October.

Six SBC Wireless brands, including Southwestern Bell Wireless, Ameritech, Pacific Bell Wireless, Nevada Bell Wireless, Cellular One, and SNET are set to distribute the wireless data services.

Stephen Carter, SBC Wireless president and chief executive officer, said the deal with InfoSpace would put a familiar face on its wireless services.

"Our goal in offering mobile data is to provide the information from the Internet that people want and need when they're mobile," Carter said. "The InfoSpace platform will help us create the face that our customers will see when they use their wireless phones to access information."

The wireless data services will provide an added avenue for SBC Wireless subscribers to communicate and access information over wireless devices. Specifically, the InfoSpace platform allows SBC Wireless subscribers to send messages from any device capable of data messaging and e-mail.

The service also provides local and personalized weather, stock, and news reports, as well as sports updates. Address books, calendars and to-do lists round out the InfoSpace personal service offing planned for SBC Wireless.

The services can be personalized from a handheld device or a desktop computer, through the same portal that offers users wireless Web access on a password-protected site.

Naveen Jain, InfoSpace chairman, said the agreement with SBC Wireless is further proof that it has the most compelling platform for wireless data services in the market.

"SBC Wireless is now able to launch an entire platform for the Wireless Internet under its own brand name and to offer these unique services to their extensive base of subscribers," Jain said.

SBC wireless affiliates currently provide access to 12.2 million customers in the U.S. It is currently deploying a national wireless expansion plan that will land SBC Wireless services in 30 new markets.

SBC teamed up with BellSouth Corp. in April to combine their U.S. wireless operations. The alliance created a powerful wireless company to compete nationwide in the exploding wireless voice and data businesses.

The recent marriage of GTE Corp. to Bell Atlantic Corp. created Verizon Communications, which launched its Verizon Wireless Web portal featuring InfoSpace content and shopping services last week.

Integrating InfoSpace's wireless infrastructure into Verizon's mobile Web services allows customers to e-shop, access information and manage their Internet experience over a Verizon Wireless-powered cellular phone, just like the SBC deal struck today.

While the competition for consumers is heating up in the wireless Web market, InfoSpace has been there to equalize the content that providers are offering subscribers, setting a de facto standard for mobile Web content.