DealTime Joins Wireless Comparison-Shopping Fray

BOSTON (05/09/2000) - in New York has joined the growing crowd of wireless Web comparison-shopping service providers with the introduction of its DealTime Mobile service. The company said the service allows consumers to use a cell phone to check pricing on 5 million items in a wide range of product categories.

While consumers have to place a voice phone call to complete a transaction, David Epstein, DealTime's senior vice president for corporate development, said the company is in the process of enabling cell-phone users to complete a purchase directly on a Web site. He declined to provide details, as the company is in a "quiet period" prior to a stock offering.

Sprint PCS in Kansas City offers a similar service called E-Compare on its national network. Verizon, a joint venture of Bell Atlantic Corp. in New York and Vodafone Air Touch PLC in London, last week said it plans to offer a wireless comparison-shopping service through Inc.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based. Barpoint has amassed a database of millions of universal product codes that allows consumers to conduct price comparisons by punching the UPC into the keypads of their phones.

Epstein said DealTime differentiates its service by the breadth of its product offerings and its ability to "clean up" the data gathered from over 2,000 online merchants by means of automated Web crawlers "We automatically correct any mistakes" in online listings, which can range from misspellings to incorrect product numbers, Epstein said.

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