'

Pay-as-you-surf: CircleCom's prepaid Internet services

A first of its kind in Asia: a prepaid Internet access services scheme promises to let business executives travelling in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia to dial up to the Internet with a CD the size of a phone card.

Business executives traveling in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia will soon be able to get connected to the Internet without having to dial-up through an ISP.

CircleCom, a Singapore based service provider, and Strategic Service Alliance Inc. (SSA), has signed an MOU to introduce prepaid Internet access services to the region.

The services will allow users to adopt a pay-as-you-go method of paying for Internet services, bypassing the process of signing up with an ISP.

"CircleCom NetValve offers huge benefits to a segment of the population that has been largely ignored by service providers," said Richard Chan, CEO of CircleCom. "We are addressing the needs of critical niche markets that require such prepaid services, by providing them with flexible and cost effective solutions for remote or controlled Internet access."

The CircleCom Netvalve solution comes in the form of a mini CD the size of a regular phone card.

The CD is prepaid and all that is needed is a phone connection and a PC. The 'single-click' format CD takes care of the connection to the Internet.

"Recharging" the CD can be done either through the Internet or at certain authorized retail outlets.

The joint venture has also spun a new entity, CircleCom NetValve.

The new entity brings together CircleCom's considerable regional IP services and SSA's Internet access and IP management solutions, NetValve and InteleTrack.

Agreement to cross-sell between the partners will allow the companies to tap into each other's respective markets-CircleCom in Asia, and SSA in the US.

The partners plan to enable the CD for online transactions in the near future, debiting the cost of purchase directly from the prepaid account.

The companies expect the uptake of the prepaid access concept to rise and are already planning to extend the services to South America, the Middle East and the US.