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Sprint's Vision Finally Includes Yahoo!

Sprint's PCS Group is yodeling about a new content deal with Yahoo! .

The No. 4 carrier and the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet media company Thursday announced an agreement to distribute Yahoo! products and services to PCS Vision customers nationwide.

The deal includes such popular applications as Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger as well as information portals such as Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Address Book, Yahoo! Calendar and Yahoo! Weather. However instead of accessing it though a third-party browser, Sprint has modified Yahoo!'s content for a smaller screen as part of their menu selection.

"Customers tell us the color display on the PCS Phone is quickly becoming the third screen in their lives for communicating as well as accessing information and entertainment. Clearly, Yahoo! understands this," Sprint PCS Division vice president Chip Novick said.

The two companies originally announced an agreement to offer Yahoo!'s content and services to Wireless Web subscribers way back in June of 1999. The original Yahoo! Everywhere strategy was to offer the first interactive mobile data experience in the U.S. The project was stalled due in part to economic conditions (the dot-com meltdown) and a shift in Yahoo! top management (Koogle to Semel). Then there were major changes in technology advancements such as 2.5- and 3G as well as the burgeoning interest in Instant Messaging and adding cameras to handsets.

Now Yahoo! and Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint say the market is ripe for their brand of Internet.

"We see the future as one wherein wireless services will get ever richer and more compelling, and we intend to continue to focus on developing innovative wireless offerings that take advantage of higher speed networks and devices," Yahoo! senior vice president, broadband and mobile services Doug Garland said in a statement.

Currently, Sprint's wireless network uses CDMA2000 1X network , which enables data calls averaging 40 to 70 kbps, with a peak data speed of 144 kbps. The company boasts upwards of 14.6 million subscribers. The group provides wholesale service to independent regional affiliates such as AirGate PCS and Alamosa Holdings, adding an additional 2 million customers to the group's subscriber count.

The Vision product lets customers take and receive pictures from select PCS Phones; browse the Internet; check personal and corporate e-mail; watch clips and stream audio for news and music; download polyphonic, animated and voice ringers, and full-color, graphically-rich games and screen savers.

In addition to Yahoo!, Sprint offers wireless Internet access and content through partners such as AOL , Amazon and eBay .