Sprint PCS Group said the Microsoft Network (MSN) will be next to jump aboard the cell phone vendor’s wireless program, joining a host of content providers that provide mobile services on the latest models of Sprint cell phones.
While it claimed to be the first portal to launch wireless services, Microsoft Corp.’s MSN until now has remained absent from Sprint’s list of companies providing financial, e-mail, directory, and shopping services via the wireless Web. America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. already provide a suite of services to the more than 7.4 million PCS subscribers.
Next week, however, MSN will add its portal services to the wireless offerings. MSN said it plans to provide its Mobile 2.0 set of services on any of the 15 models of Internet-ready phones sold by Sprint. Subscribers will receive news from MSNBC.com, financial services from MoneyCentral, and travel help at Expedia.com, according to a statement.
MSN will also provide access via the PCS network for the 70 million e-mail addresses that have been issued by its Hotmail service. As is the case with Yahoo and other service providers, MSN users will be able to access e-mail accounts, manage mail files, and even send messages over the phone. MSN will also contribute sports, entertainment, and weather information in a similar fashion to the other portals.
PCS users can also use their phone to locate places of business, get driving directions, find lottery information, and maintain their address books.
Sprint began its Wireless Web service near the end of September in 1999. Shortly thereafter, the company signed deals with numerous Internet-based content providers to offer services.
Analysts and industry observers alike expect the use of wireless services to explode in the United States and throughout the world in the next two to three years. Up to this point, Japanese and European network providers have dominated usage and technological advancements in the wireless segment.