AT&T Wireless Offers Free Limited Web Access

SAN FRANCISCO (05/17/2000) - Looking to attract new customers who are keen to surf the Web from their mobile phones, AT&T Wireless Group rolled out a new service plan today that includes free access to a limited selection of Web sites.

Called AT&T Digital PocketNet, the service includes unlimited access to about 40 Web sites chosen by AT&T, so long as customers purchase one of two new wireless Internet phones and sign up for an AT&T digital wireless voice plan, the company said in a statement issued today.

Customers who want access to additional Web sites, as well as faxing, e-mail and personal organizer services like a calendar and to-do list, can choose from two flat-rate, all-you-can-use plans priced at US$6.99 and $14.99 respectively, AT&T said.

AT&T Wireless has been relatively successful in providing wireless data services to large businesses. The Digital PocketNet initiative marks a concerted effort by the company to become a significant player in the consumer market, where its competitors include Sprint PCS, the wireless unit of Sprint Corp.

"This new PocketNet portal will launch AT&T into the mass market for wireless Web access," Jeff Kagan, an independent telecom analyst based in Marietta, Georgia, said in an e-mail response to today's move.

The phones that customers must choose from are the R280LX from L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., which is priced at $99.99, and the MobileAccess T250 from Mitsubishi Electric Corp., which costs $199.99.

The 40 or so Web sites included in the AT&T free plan include ABCNews.com, barnesandnoble.com LLC, eBay Inc. and MapQuest.com Inc., which all offer content that has been tailored for display on mobile phones.

All of the plans include a "personal Web site" that customers can customize for faster access to content, AT&T said.

AT&T Wireless Services, the wireless group of AT&T Corp., launched an IPO (initial public offering) late last month. [See "UPDATE: AT&T Wireless IPO Posts Modest Gain," April 27.] The company's shares on the Nasdaq ended the day at $29.00, level with yesterday's close.

AT&T, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-908-221-2000 or http://www.att.com/.

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