AOL Europe Announces Mobile Strategy

AOL Europe announced
Monday its
“AOL Anywhere” strategy to stay ahead in the rapidly changing market for
mobile
Internet services.


To ensure that its mobile portals remain compatible with the latest wireless
protocols and handsets, AOL Europe has formed partnerships with
manufacturers
Ericsson and
Nokia and software developer
RTS Wireless.


The agreements cover the development and trial of AOL Europe’s mobile
services
using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) solutions provided by the
partners.


Andreas Schmidt, president and chief executive officer AOL Europe, said
the strategy would guarantee that AOL Europe realized the historic growth
opportunity offered by the mobile Internet.


“AOL Europe will also make sure our mobile portals are available to the
broadest possible audience, over the complete range of platforms, and
carried across the full spectrum of providers,” said Schmidt.


The partners will develop services that are not only compatible with
WAP and Short Messaging Service (SMS) protocols, but also take advantage
of the next-generation General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). GPRS will enable
an “always-on” service, up to ten times the speed of today’s mobile devices.


The first mobile trials conducted by AOL Europe and its three partners
will begin later this month in the U.K., Germany and France. The first
of them will test mail, news, weather and quotes over WAP gateway proxy
servers.


Looking to the long-term, AOL Europe and its partners say they want to
make sure that future WAP technologies and specifications produced by
the manufacturers are compatible with the portals and service
infrastructure.


AOL Europe’s agreement with RTS Wireless covers the development and
test of wireless text messaging services, with the aim of introducing
a range of services this year. They include SMS Alert Messaging, Mail
by Phone and Content Alerts.


AOL Europe remains a joint venture between America Online Inc. and
Bertelsmann AG, although industry observers have questioned Bertelsmann’s
continued participation following the AOL/Time Warner merger.


With a membership base for both AOL and CompuServe in Europe exceeding 3.4
million, plus 0.4 million registrants for Netscape Online in the U.K.,
AOL Europe currently enjoys pole position in the race to extend
online services to mobile platforms. Its portals serve nine countries
in four languages.

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