BT and AT&T have announced a range of global mobile telephony and email services for multinational companies, the first result of their mobile alliance.
The services include a service that will enable business customers to use a single phone number when travelling in both the UK and US, a service that lets IT managers monitor international corporate mobile use, and a service that provides email access to mobile users.
However, Ewan Sutherland, director of the International Telcommunications User Association, said it would be hard for any company to offer a truly global service. "There are so many standards in each country. Nobody can offer roaming services in Japan or Asia, for example. It is also an inconvenience to enter the US and then have to go and find a phone which can be used to roam on TDMA networks."
World Connect will allow mobile phone users to roam between GSM networks, dominant in Europe, and the US TDMA system while retaining their own mobile phone number. European users will need to rent or buy a TDMA phone for use in the US, although a single handset is scheduled for next year.
The service, which will enable customers to use their number in more than 100 countries worldwide and 7000 cities in the US and Canada, is charged to a mobile user's usual account. It will be an important step towards providing customers 'anytime anywhere' capabilities from their phones, said the companies.
The second product from the alliance, called Advance, is the WorldView service which will enable multinational companies to manage their international mobile services in countries around the world. It will provide IT directors with a full view of the company's mobile communications, including usage, billing and tariff information.
"These products provide customers with the opportunity to eliminate the boundaries of technology and geography," said John Zeglis, chairman of AT&T Wireless Group.
BT Wireless also announced today the launch of a real-time corporate email service for its business customers based on the AT&T PocketNet brand. The PocketNet service enables business users to access Microsoft Outlook through their mobile phone or other wireless device.
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