TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Cingular Revamps Wireless Internet Services

Cingular Revamps Wireless Internet Services

Reuters News Wire (
Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:13:05 -0600

Cingular Wireless said on Thursday it redesigned its wireless Web
offerings with a ticker service and options that make it easier to get
news and weather on phones.

Along with rivals, Cingular, the No. 1 U.S. mobile service, has been
working to expand its services beyond traditional phone calls in order
to boost revenue as call prices fall and the number of potential new
first-time customers dwindles.

But consumers have been slow to adopt services such as mobile Internet
as Web surfing on phones is slower than on computers and it is more
difficult to navigate the Internet on small phone screens.

Cingular, a venture of SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp.,
hopes to increase Web usage with a ticker that scrolls headlines
across the bottom of phone screens, letting users access an item of
interest to them with just one click.

It has also revamped its more traditional Web options by making it
possible for users decide what kind of Web sites are prominently
displayed on the phone's main menu.

In the most recent quarter less than 10 percent of Cingular's average
monthly revenue per user came from data services including Web
browsing and text messaging.

"I expect there will be a significant increase in people using browser
services," as a result of the revamp Jim Ryan, vice president of
consumer data products at Cingular said.

Ovum analyst Roger Entner also said the ticker service should succeed
in encouraging usage of data services because it does not force the
user to wade through menus.

"The cool thing about the ticker is that it makes impulse information
access a reality," Entner said. "Here the Web comes to you and that's
why it will drive usage."

Cingular said that the ticker service would be available on more than
30 million of its phones in the next several weeks.

Its next biggest rivals are Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon and
Vodafone and Sprint Nextel Corp.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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