MmO2 to push corporate services over GPRS

The mobile network operator has signed up companies such as BT Ignite and Compaq to help it persuade enterprise customers to pay for faster wireless services

MmO2 is targeting the lucrative mobile workforce market with a new range of data services that will give employees faster wireless access to corporate information and the Internet.

The network operator -- which was spun off from BT last year -- announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with BT Ignite, Compaq, Computacenter, HP, Unisys and Winlinx. These six firms will market and distribute a range of services that will operate across mmO2's GPRS network, which provides significantly faster data transfer rates than GSM.

Customers are expected to be sold a package, including GPRS-enabled handsets and data and voice subscription contracts. The data services will include access to email, corporate data and full-colour Internet access. The first such packages are expected to go on sale within weeks.

Tuesday's announcement follows the recent multi-million pound agreement that mmO2 signed with Microsoft -- under which the two firms agreed to work together on creating mobile data services.

Despite the involvement of HP and Compaq, mmO2 has not said what handsets will provided with the service. According to a statement from mmO2, the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq will offer packaged services based on their "support and integration skills, combined with mmO2's mobile data expertise and market-leading wireless software from Microsoft."

IT managers who are concerned about wireless hackers may be relieved to hear that mmo2 is promising to provide secure wireless access to the corporate intranet.

The network operator insists that, by partnering with these six IT companies, it will be able to offer a comprehensive service and compete with the likes of Vodafone, who last summer announced that it would offer wireless access to office applications.

"These companies bring to market ready-made solutions, which complements our growing mobile data portfolio. Our mutual goals are to meet the needs of those who have to communicate on the move, allowing them to be reachable and remain connected to vital information at all times," said Kent Thexton, chief marketing and data officer mmO2, in a statement.


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