Telecom Italia to Launch First Data Phone

Telecom Italia SpA will next month begin marketing the world's first fixed line data telephone capable of sending and receiving SMS (Short Message Service) messages, and of sending -- but not receiving -- e-mails and faxes, the Italian carrier announced Thursday.

The standard model of the Sirio.187 will retail for 129,000 lire (US$57) (inclusive of value added tax), while an optional separate keyboard with infrared connection will sell for 30,000 lire, the company said in a statement. Telecom Italia expects to sell at least 5 million of the new phones over the next two years, it said.

The Sirio.187 will be capable of exchanging SMS with cellular phones and with other fixed line telephones offering the same service, Telecom Italia said. It will also be able to send messages to fax machines in Italy and, from the first quarter of next year, send e-mail messages, the company said. The device will be capable of handling text messages of up to 640 characters.

The fax service will initially be restricted to machines in Italy for billing reasons, but Telecom Italia expects to introduce the possibility of shipping international faxes at a later stage, a Telecom Italia spokeswoman said.

Telecom Italia can be contacted in Rome on tel +3906 3688 7408 or on the Web at http://www.telecomitalia.it/comunicati.

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