Millions of Cingular and Nextel mobile subscribers can now logon at Pronto-enabled Wi-Fi locations for 20 minutes for just $1.99 by sending an SMS text message to the 80211 short code
New Orleans – CTIA Wireless 2005 – March 15, 2005: Pronto Networks, a leading provider of carrier-class OSS solutions for large-scale Wi-Fi hotspot networks and citywide hot zones, today announced a new Premium SMS software module for its leading OSS platform for broadband wireless networks. The Premium SMS capabilities are enabled on Pronto’s hosted Wi-Fi network for third-party service providers and allows both Cingular and Nextel mobile subscribers to logon at Pronto-managed Wi-Fi hotspots and metro-scale hot zones for 20 minutes by sending an SMS text message to the phone number 80211. A charge for $1.99 is billed directly on the mobile user’s invoice for the service.
“The premium SMS service will provide mobile subscribers a new, convenient way to purchase Wi-Fi access for a short duration by using their cell phones rather than their credit cards,” said Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto Networks. “The service will also provide additional revenue to carriers and hotspot operators offering this micropayment capability.”
The Premium SMS service is available to over 34 million mobile phone subscribers from Cingular and Nextel. Other US carriers will be integrated into the service over the next six months. To use the Premium SMS service, a mobile subscriber simply sends a text message to the phone number 80211 and then enters the confirmation code received on the cell phone in the appropriate field on their laptop or PDA. Upon successful authentication, the user has 20 minutes to surf the net, check emails or download files. Confirmation codes are valid for 24 hours.
“Pronto’s introduction of Premium SMS services demonstrates the company’s continuous commitment to provide innovative, wireless applications and services,” said Bruce Deer, President of SkyTel Networks, a subsidiary of MCI. “We look forward to working with them on future Wi-Fi projects.”
Pronto Networks offers the Premium SMS software module as an extension to its core OSS platform for broadband wireless access. The module offers mobile operators considerable flexibility in defining key parameters of the service, such as how much time is permitted with each short code, how much to charge the mobile subscriber, and provisioning different short codes for the service. The module also supports revenue sharing between wholesale and retail operators. In addition to being offered as a software module, the Premium SMS capability is available to operators via a services agreement.
About Pronto Networks
Pronto Networks, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides carrier-class Operations Support Systems (OSS) that enable network operators to deploy and manage large public hot spot and hot zone networks. The company’s software handles provisioning, configuration, authentication, access control, security, pre-paid and post-paid billing, and roaming settlement for large public WLAN networks, in addition to remotely managing and updating multi-vendor hardware and Wi-Fi switches. Pronto Networks is funded by BV Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Intel Communications Fund. Pronto Networks was recently named to the AlwaysOn List of Top 100 Private Companies for the second consecutive year and in 2003 received Wired Magazine’s Top 25 Wi-Fi Companies to Watch and Computerworld’s Innovative Technology Awards. For more information, visit www.prontonetworks.com.
SkyTel Corp., a subsidiary of MCI, is a leading provider of wireless data services including traditional paging, text messaging, interactive two-way messaging, wireless email and wireless telemetry services. SkyTel continues to expand its product portfolio to include services such as FleetHawk Automated Vehicle Location (AVL), and telemetry services such as SkyTel Remote Access. For more information, go to www.skytel.com.
MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCIP) is a leading global communications provider, delivering innovative, cost-effective, advanced communications connectivity to businesses, governments and consumers. With the industry’s most expansive global IP backbone, based on the number of company-owned points of presence, and wholly-owned data networks, MCI develops the converged communications products and services that are the foundation for commerce and communications in today’s market.
For more information, go to www.mci.com.
Kristie Heins Fox for Pronto Networks Ruder Finn, Inc.
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