Moscow, Russia ó August 29, 2000 ó Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE: MBT), a leading Russian provider of GSM 900/1800 mobile cellular communication services, and Port.ru, a leading Russian Internet company, today announced their agreement to develop WAP technologies in Russia.
The partnership between these two leading companies is a significant development for both WAP technology and the Internet in Russia. The most wide-ranging aspect of the agreement calls for the integration of purchases made by MTS subscribers on Port.ruís e-commerce site, Torg.ru, into MTSís billing system. With this link, more than 770,000 MTS subscribers will have the ability to pay for goods and services either directly online or through their WAP phone using their MTS account.
The agreement with Port.ru marks a new step for Mobile TeleSystems in the further extension of the range of its services based on WAP technology. MTS is developing new WAP services as part of its program to create a uniform informational environment so that a cellular telephone is used not only for mobile communications, but also as a device allowing users to access information and perform various other operations.
ďThe global changes in communications taking place today, referred to as the íInternet Revolution,í are changing the way we work, communicate, learn, and even relax. This is happening all over the world. Certainly, the environment in Russia is somewhat different. Today an operator introducing Internet technologies finds itself ahead of its customers. One of the new roles that MTS is playing today is that of a teacher, explaining to its subscribers opportunities that the ínew generationí of wireless communications offers,Ē remarked Shagit Reznikov, Director of New Technologies and Services at MTS. ďOur strategic partnership with Port.ru, the leading Russian Internet company, will further strengthen our position as a cellular mobile operator providing its subscribers with state-of-the-art services.Ē
ďThe agreement is a landmark for the Russian Internet and for the Russian cellular market. It makes the RuNet portable,Ē said Eugene Goland, Port.ru CEO. ďWith this agreement in place, more than 770,000 MTS subscribers will be able to pay for goods and services available on Torg.ru, giving them access to more than 350 stores offering over 125,000 goods and services.Ē
The management of both companies agree that one of the most important strategic elements of their partnership is the melding of MTSís expertise in billing and the capabilities of its network with Torg.ruís e-commerce platform.
The agreement calls for MTS and Port.ru to undertake a series of joint initiatives, including the development of: (1) a WAP-version of Port.ruís free e-mail service, Mail.ru; (2) a WAP-version of Port.ruís personal electronic organizer, Base.ru; (3) an e-commerce platform link to Torg.ru; and (4) the information product news line, ATN. With this combination, MTS subscribers will be able to have direct access from their cellular telephones to some of the most popular aspects of the RuNet.
The partnership will introduce a WAP-version of Port.ruís popular free e-mail service, Mail.ru, which MTS estimates is used by approximately 30,000 of its subscribers. In addition to being able to access Mail.ruís services from WAP-enabled handsets, MTS subscribers will also benefit from short messaging services (SMS), which will notify them when they receive an e-mail.
At the same time, the agreement also calls for the development of a WAP version of Base.ru, the web-based electronic personal organizer developed by Port.ru. MTS subscribers will be able to access Base.ruís services, as well as receive SMS messages notifying them of upcoming events and meetings scheduled in their Base.ru electronic organizer. As a result, by integrating the SMS notification services of MTSís short message service center (SMSC) with the e-mail and electronic organizer services offered by Port.ru, the two companies will be able to provide unprecedented corporate services, allowing employees of companies to receive notifications about business meetings or events.
Finally, with todayís agreement, MTS subscribers will also gain access to Port.ruís product news service, ATN, which provides information about consumer products and services. Along the same lines, the companies plan to provide a series of other information channels in WAP-format so that customers can subscribe to customized information services in their specified areas of interest. Once these subscribers receive a short SMS-annotated news headline, they will be able to retrieve the full text by going to any WAP terminal.
The partnership between MTS and Port.ru will allow MTS to offer its subscribers new services. It will also permit Port.ru to expand its audience by attracting cellular phone users who request mobile access to the Internet. All projects under the agreement will be promoted through joint marketing programs.
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