AOL Europe moves into mobile Internet access

AOL Europe has made its biggest commitment yet to the emerging new technologies behind mobile Internet access.

It has announced a “far-reaching” strategy called AOL Anywhere, which is designed to extend its ease-of-use into a range of next-generation wireless devices using wireless application protocol (WAP), short messaging service (SMS) and GPRS protocols. AOL-equipped devices should be available later this year.

Recent research has predicted a flood of new non-wired users in Europe. One-third of all Europeans are expected to go online through mobile phones within four years.

AOL’s move into WAP will be in partnership with mobile phone leaders Nokia and Ericsson. SMS will be offered through RTS Wireless.

As part of its newfound enthusiasm, AOL will take a more active interest in the WAP Forum, the industry association that has developed a de facto world standard for wireless Internet delivery.

Andreas Schmidt, president and chief executive of AOL Europe, says the AOL Anywhere strategy will help the company realise an “historic growth opportunity”.

He says: “We will move rapidly to offer AOL members, and other mobile users across Europe, the same commitment to quality, convenience and community they have enjoyed on the PC.”

The new deals include extensive cross-promotion and marketing between AOL Europe and its mobile phone partners.

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