RealTime IT News

Cingular Sells Off Biz Messaging Unit

Cingular Wireless said it is selling its messaging technology unit to institutional investor Cerebrus Capital Management for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes network and IT systems, customer service operations and a majority of subscribers.

The Cingular Interactive subsidiary provides wireless corporate e-mail and messaging through its Mobitex packet data service. The Mobitex network supports approximately 25 percent of all Blackberry users worldwide, the company said.

The unit also sells applications enabling field force automation, telemetry and remote transaction processing. Cingular will continue to offer the Mobitex service under a deal with the Cingular Interactive unit.

"The Mobitex resale agreement with Cingular Interactive, combined with our GPRS/EDGE networks, gives Cingular customers the maximum flexibility in finding wireless data products to suit their needs," Cingular COO Ralph de la Vega said in a statement.

Cingular Interactive is based in Woodbridge, N.J. and its managers are expected to remain following the sale.

Cingular Wireless is a joint venture between Baby Bells SBC Communications and BellSouth . The company is acquiring AT&T Wireless to expand its reach.

AT&T Wireless made its own wireless news today, unveiling a messaging-only device aimed at teens and young adults.

The offering, dubbed Ogo, is designed to handle instant messages and e-mails from America Online, MSN and Yahoo . It sells for about $100 (after $30 rebate) with messaging plans starting at $18 per month.

Ogo has a color screen and a full keypad with shortcut keys that allow users them to read mail, compose messages, access IM contact lists, insert emoticons and view all open messages.

AT&T Wireless conceived the idea internally then tapped IXI Mobile to develop Ogo's software and hardware based on their Personal Mobile Gateway platform. Custom middleware software from OZ enables device interoperability between Ogo and the major e-mail and instant messaging service platforms. # # # Sources: Cingular PR: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=088644&TICK=CINGUL1& STORY=/www/story/09-27-2004/0002259228&EDATE=Sep +27,+2004 AT&T Wireless PR:http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/09 -27-2004/0002259174&EDATE= Inquiries out to Cingular spokespeople: Clay Owens, Jeffifer Bowcock Past inews stories -- links in text