Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
Well, that’s one way to do mobile payments
NEW YORK-Andersen Consulting released its Mobile Micropayments prototype, illustrating how consumers can purchase items using an Internet billing solution from a wireless phone without incurring charges on their phone bills or using the cellular network. The prototype service would allow a vending machine to notify a person’s mobile device of its contents as the person walks by the machine. If the person wanted to purchase a product from the machine, the phone would prompt the person to enter a personal identification number, authenticating the transaction. The information is passed to the machine wirelessly, without accessing the user’s wireless carrier, which drops the product and bills the online account of the user’s choosing. Andersen said solutions of this type would enable consumers to pay for vending-machine purchases, taxi fares or shopping trips to the supermarket or mall, through their mobile phones. … Read more
Verizon comes to Best Buy
MINNEAPOLIS-Verizon Wireless services will be offered at more than 350 Best Buy stores nationwide beginning in October, complementing the retailer’s current national wireless two-way messaging and paging relationship with Verizon Wireless. The agreement includes Verizon’s wireless products and services, including the company’s recently introduced mobile Internet service. … Read more
Verizon’s squad goals, circa 2000
NEW YORK-Telecommunications is like chess, because the grand masters emerge as victors by controlling the center of the board, Ivan Seidenberg, president and co-chief executive officer of Verizon Communications Inc., said. “In our case, the move to center means four platforms: robust local access, local broadband, wireless and Internet backbone. Our focus is to be one of the tier-one companies in this geographic area (North and Latin America),” he said recently at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2000 Global Entertainment, Media & Communications Summit. “That gives you leverage to expand into other parts of the world. You can’t become international and think you’re global. We’re in 30 countries, but we don’t have scale. I suspect it will take another five to 10 years for us to be global.”At the same time, Seidenberg said he believes the largest wireless and wireline carrier in the United States must continue to grow or else it will wither. “When you’re big in a capital intensive industry, the only solution is to get bigger, and not all companies can do this. If you start from scratch, you can focus on niche markets and then grow,” Seidenberg said. “This doesn’t only mean mergers and acquisitions. It also means partnerships, like our joint venture with Vodafone (Group plc) in which we have a controlling interest in the United States. In the rest of the world, the only places we overlap are in Greece and New Zealand, so we can work together on new product development, marketing and project management.” … Read more
Bumps on the road to Bluetooth
Bluetooth seemed like a simple idea when introduced in 1998 as a low-cost, cable-replacement technology designed to be embedded in wireless devices. Early forecasts had Bluetooth-enabled products on the market as early as mid-1999. Those early predictions seemed believable at the time. Who would not want a product that did away with the multitude of wires needed to connect electronic devices together? L.M. Ericsson, which started a feasibility study on Bluetooth in 1994, signed up Intel Corp., IBM Corp., Nokia Corp. and Toshiba Corp. as the original founding members of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group in 1997 in an attempt to set standards for the technology’s interoperability. Other companies, including Motorola Inc., Qualcomm Inc., 3Com Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Dell and Lucent Technologies Inc. quickly joined in. Now, two years since the name first appeared on the scene and more than a year later than early forecasts, Bluetooth-enabled products, starting with wireless phones and accessories, finally are ready to trickle into the wireless marketplace. … Read more
Mobile content competition heats up
Being the new kid on the block is always a challenge. Besides trying to keep your own sense of identity, there is the pressure of trying to fit in to an unnatural surrounding that may or may not receive you graciously. A few years ago, wireless portals were new on the scene. While the wired Internet was exploding with innovations, the wireless Internet was seen as an outsider with limited potential as an auxiliary outlet for more conventional wired Internet sites. Two of the heavy hitters in the conventional Internet market, and Atlanta-based neighbors, CNN.com and the Weather Channels’ Weather.com, saw the wireless space as more than a side service for their online offerings. They saw wireless as a way of getting information to people when they needed it. “We felt that wireless was an important area for us, and operators needed content to push their new wireless Internet services,” said Mitch Lazar, vice president of business development and new media for Turner Broadcasting System Europe Ltd. Lazar helped launch CNN Mobile in February 1999, directing development of the project and managing partnerships with nine charter GSM operators in Europe and Asia Pacific. Those nine original members have expanded to 24 operators in 20 countries with 69 million subscribers, including Australia’s Telstra and Optus, BellSouth and Sprint PCS in the United States, Telefonica in Spain and NTT DoCoMo in Japan. CNN Mobile was also the first value-added service to be built using WAP technology, which was launched commercially with Sonera in August of last year. And no one could question CNN’s brand name has credibility when it comes to providing news services. … Read more
Sept. 2000 product round-up: Don’t miss out on that burple headset
Amrel Systems Inc. released a more powerful version of its Rocky II+ ruggedized mobile notebook computer, certified under MIL-STD 810E, MIL-STD 461C and IP54, offering an Intel Pentium III processor at speeds up to 650 MHz. Amrel said the faster processor provides better responsiveness with graphic software by increasing frame rates, color depths and image processing algorithms. The upgraded performance capabilities of the processor also allow for real-time MPEG-2 video encoding, editing and streaming video. … Wireless mobile office solution provider Etrieve Inc. launched an affiliate marketing program giving Web sites targeting small and medium businesses and high-tech professionals the ability to offer their users Etrieve’s mobile e-mail solution. Web masters participating in the program can post Etrieve banners or buttons on their Web sites, allowing potential customers to link to Etrieve’s home page. When a customer signs up for a free trial or becomes an Etrieve client through an affiliate’s site, the Web master will receive a commission. … Communication headset provider Plantronics Inc. unveiled colored mobile headsets, the M130 and M135, to its consumer product line. The M130, with a suggested retail price of $45, is available in a bluish purple the company calls “burple.” … Read more
Untangling international mobile calling
Michael Pascazi last year was in New York desperately trying to reach his cousin in Italy, armed only with a cellular phone. His newborn son was to be baptized there, and he was trying to make the arrangements through his relatives. “I have to call another cousin to get her and she had to go to a pay phone to call me back,” he said. “It’s not so easy to call back and forth internationally on cell phones. There’s a lot of rules, and it’s expensive. I thought that was unusual and odd and not well known in this day and age in a global economy.” That’s when the idea struck him. The fiber-optics company executive wanted to find a way to transport cellular signals more efficiently and cheaply across international waters. He focused on the Internet. “This was a project that we fooled around with,” said Pascazi. “We focused on the Internet because of the low cost, and then we focused on cell-phone traffic because of the ubiquity.” Recently, Pascazi’s new company, Cellcross Telecom Inc., announced a successful trial of the system. It permitted international wireless phone traffic to travel via the Internet between New York and Milan, Italy. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.