Sprint Putting Web Services into Ford Cars

SAN MATEO (03/15/2000) - Sprint Corp. announced today a freshly inked deal with Ford Motor Co., which will put Sprint PCS Wireless Web services into many of Ford's 2001 Lincoln automobiles.

"This deal was a matter of trying to combine what we do well on the network and in the wireless space with what Ford does well in the car," said Doug Pritt, vice president of business development for Sprint PCS.

The deal was aimed initially at punching up Ford's current Remote Emergency Satellite Cellular Unit (RESCU) safety system.

The PCS system makes use of a Motorola Inc. StarTac digital phone that automobile drivers can use not only in emergency situations but to make calls, to access the Internet, or to plug into other office services.

"This is a really good channel for us because people spend a lot of time in cars these days," said Pritt.

He said the deal is specifically different from others forged between tech vendors and automakers because it is the first nationwide, entirely digital solution and the PCS phone is removable.

Ford's PCS services are voice activated to reduce driver distraction. Ford will place the button to activate services between the car's sun visors.

Sprint and Ford are talking about a second phase of the initiative which would deploy e-mail to the car, converting speech to text and text to speech, Pritt said.

The telecom carrier is looking to engage any and all automakers in similar talks, he added.

"There are 15 million cars sold each year and we want all of them outfitted with PCS," said Pritt.

Sprint Corp. in Kansas City, Missouri, is at http://www.sprint.com/. Ford Motor Co., in Dearborn, Michigan, is at http://www.ford.com/.

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