US West claims it is going to blow open the Internet revolution to everyone by offering telephones that allow consumers to access the Internet and send email.
US West maintains that a large majority of consumers have never surfed the Internet because they find it intimidating or they find PCs too expensive.
The telephone company, which operates in 14 States in the US, believes that by moving Internet access to the telephone, which people are comfortable with, the online lifestyle will adopted by a far greater percentage of the population.
The move also benefits US West as pushing Internet access will enable it to pump up sales of data services as the market for traditional telephone calls becomes increasingly cut-throat.
The Web phones, which are being manufactured by France's Alcatel, will plug into standard phone jacks so they can be moved around the home.
The Web phones, slated to ship third quarter this year, look like standard telephones with the addition of a screen. Consumers navigate the Internet by pointing and touching icons, much like a cashpoint machine. The phones will have built-in keyboards to send mail. Pricing has yet to be released, but US West is working on bringing them in at under $300.
US West is also planning to introduce mobile phones with Internet access. They will be manufactured by Qualcom in the US.
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