Mannesmann Mobilfunk GmbH and Yahoo Inc.'s German subsidiary, Yahoo Deutschland, have struck a cooperation agreement to let mobile-phone users in Germany access Yahoo content.
Under the agreement, users of Mannesmann's D2 mobile network later this year will be able to read their e-mail and call up Yahoo news, financial information, weather and sports, according to Christian Schwolow, a spokesman for D2. They will also be able to personalize the news. Later, users will be able to call up pared-down graphic displays.
The deal is part of a broader service that will let users access a variety of Internet-based information from their D2 mobile phones, which Mannesmann Mobilfunk is launching throughout Germany in the third quarter, Schwolow said. D2 also has made deals with other content providers for the upcoming service, including online news from German television stations SAT1 and NTV, as well as the information service from the German business daily, Handelsblatt.
The service will be launched as soon as the appropriate handsets appear on the market. The phones need to comply with WAP, a new protocol for sending information between wireless devices and the Internet. Manufacturers such as Nokia Corp. are expected to come out with the first WAP-compliant mobile phones in September.
"This is like an extension of the very successful small messaging service (SMS)," said Schwolow. SMS is a protocol for sending data over wireless phones at speeds of 9.6K bits per second. The D2 service will transmit data at the same speeds as SMS, but will be able to offer more features than currently available via SMS, he said.
Later, though, WAP will be in incorporated into new generations of mobile phones that allow much faster transmission speeds.
SMS is wildly popular with D2 subscribers, Schwolow said, with the number of subscribers to the service doubling every three months. D2 has seven million subscribers in Germany.
The WAP-based service is going to be shown to a broad public at the International Radio Exhibition (IFA), which takes place in Berlin from Aug.28 through Sept. 5. That's when D2 will announce the cost of the service.