Wireless Internet Access Gets Personal

MILWAUKEE - Combining the mobility of wireless communications with access to World Wide Web-based information and the ability to easily personalize that information, Verizon Wireless' new national service, Mobile Web, launched today in Southeastern Wisconsin, the Madison area and the Fox River Valley.

Customers subscribing to Mobile Web will have the greatest wireless access to Internet content, benefiting from Verizon Wireless' CDMA digital network, the most extensive in the United States.

Mobile Web is designed to meet each user's specific personal and business needs, with a simple intuitive format making it easy for users to customize what they want to see on their handset. Users can customize either directly from their handset or via desktop using the www.MyVZW.com Web site. The "MyVZW" Web site provides a personal home page enabling users to identify text message alerts they want sent to the handset as well as select only the Internet-based information they want.

"The introduction of Mobile Web marks a new era in the convergence of wireless and the Internet," said Eric Schaefer, General Manager-Wisconsin for Verizon Wireless. "This new service gives users the most convenient way to wirelessly access the content they want from the Internet. At the same time, Mobile Web lays the groundwork for the next evolution of wireless Internet applications."

Verizon Wireless' Mobile Web service is designed to be the foundation for launching new information-based services. Schaefer added, "This service offering is just the beginning. We fully expect to optimize the value of Mobile Web by continuing to introduce wireless access to new and exciting content and by integrating new functionality such as location-specific offerings."

Through a series of agreements Verizon Wireless has made with Internet content providers, Mobile Web customers can access a variety of Web sites ranging from personal finance and shopping, to news and entertainment. By customizing the information desired via MyVZW.com, users can receive updates on their own stock portfolio and have an alert sent when a particular stock reaches a targeted price point.

"Comparison shop, book airline flights, make restaurant reservations, receive your daily horoscope, and keep up with your favorite sports team with Mobile Web and much more," said Mary Shully, Associate Director-Marketing Communications/Advertising for Verizon Wireless. "Mobile Web is valuable, personal and affordable for all types of Internet users, even those who have yet to explore the wired alternatives."

Verizon Wireless Makes Wireless Internet Access Practical

For a competitive price of $6.95 a month, Verizon Wireless customers can add on Mobile Web service to any digital service plan, including the company's popular SingleRateSM flat-rate pricing plans, which start at $35.00 for monthly access. Mobile Web customers may use their bundled minutes for both voice and Web services and can receive up to 100 message alerts monthly at no additional charge. Additional alerts are 10 cents. In addition, customers may choose from as many as six different Web-capable wireless handsets.

User choice is central to the Mobile Web offering. Currently, information from 32 branded sites is available plus information from several hundred wireless-enabled Internet sites through an agreement Verizon Wireless has signed with InfoSpace.com. (See sidebar for complete listing of content partners.) Specifically, Mobile Web customers can access the following tools and information based on their needs and interests:

  • Messaging - e-mail - username@MyVZW.com, access to other e-mail accounts and e-mail alerts
  • News, Weather, and Sports - headline alerts, final score alerts and weather forecast for selected city
  • Bookmark any wireless-enabled Internet site
  • Finance - manage 401K Fidelity Investments accounts, get stock alerts and trading from E*Trade, Fidelity Investments and DLJ direct
  • mCommerce - comparison shopping and on-line shopping
  • Personal Information Management Tools (PIM) - Calendar with reminder alerts, address book with one-touch dialing, compatible with MicroSoft Outlook
  • Entertainment - horoscopes, lottery results and movie schedules
  • Travel - flight schedule and status
  • eCustomer Care - one-touch dial to customer care

As an introduction to Mobile Web, Verizon Wireless will waive the $6.95 fee for three months so customers can try the service. To sign up for service, customers can visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or call 1-888-466-4646.

The Next Phase of Mobile Web

The Yankee Group expects 48 million Web-enabled digital phone users worldwide by 2002 and climbing to 204 million users by 2005. Helping to fuel this growth, Verizon Wireless will add content and functionality to its Mobile Web service. These include location-based services, such as the delivery of coupons for a nearby retailer or restaurant directly to the customer's handset, based on specified preferences and usage trends. Mobile Web will also serve as the platform for digital two-way SMS (short messaging service), which the company plans to launch by the end of 2000.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp --now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets.

Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.