America Online Inc. Monday announced its
plans to deliver its most popular Internet services to millions of wireless
Through a series of agreements with top wireless data carriers and
manufacturers, America Online (AOL) plans to advance its “AOL Anywhere” marketing strategy across a full range of
AOL’s 21 million members and wireless consumers will be able to use mobile
devices to access AOL e-mail, instant messaging and news services,
including financial data, movie updates and driving directions.
New to its family of services is AOL’s “Mobile Messenger” service, which
will offer wireless access to AOL’s e-mail and Instant Messenger
applications over hand-held devices and pagers.
AOL partnered up with Sprint PCS (FON)
in order to deliver its wireless content over Internet-ready wireless
phones. AOL came to terms with Motorola,
for its new mobile messenger services to be delivered over an array of
Motorola wireless devices.
A third deal was struck with Nokia (NOK)
to develop a version of AOL’s Instant Messenger service for a variety of
Nokia’s wireless handheld devices. AOL tapped Canada’s Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM)
for its wireless e-mail applications to deliver instant messaging
services through customized handheld devices.
Other deals include a long-term agreement with BellSouth (BLS)
for AOL messaging transport over BellSouth’s Intelligent Wireless Network
devices and an agreement with Arch
for two-way wireless messaging capabilities.
Steve Case, AOL chairman and chief executive officer, said the agreements
were part of a massive AOL initiative to accelerate deployment of its
Dennis Patrick, newly name president of AOL Wireless, said AOL is perfectly
positioned to capture consumers on the move to a wireless communication
“Research indicates that total wireless subscribers will hit 1.26 billion
by 2005, up from 469 million at year end 1999 and that by 2003 a third of
all Internet users will also be accessing the Internet via mobile devices,”
“There’s no other company that can deliver the convenience, ease-of-use and
value in a wireless suite of services like America Online can.”
In related news America Online also announced Monday that its Digital City portal will be made
accessible to wireless consumers in 60 cities next month. Digital City
Wireless is designed to offer consumers user guides to featured cities for
restaurant reviews, movie times, and entertainment.
As a part of its wireless initiative, AOL joined the Wireless Application Protocol Forum.
The WAP Forum consists of more than 200 industry members engaged in
developing open WAP standards for wireless Internet content development.
AOL has also been advancing its wireless strategy internationally. AOL
Europe, a joint venture between America Online and Bertelsmann AG, forged deals with
Nokia and Ericsson (SEK)
to ensure its mobile portals are compatible with current wireless protocols
on a global platform.