Verizon Wireless kicks off mobile Net access

The company unveils its version of the wireless Internet, with a new service for cell phones called Mobile Web.

Verizon Wireless today debuted a new Internet service for cell phones called Mobile Web.

The new service combines many of the features introduced separately by Bell Atlantic, Vodafone AirTouch and GTE, the three companies that recently merged their wireless operations to form Verizon Wireless and create one of the nation's largest mobile phone carriers.

Using information from 32 branded Web sites, Mobile Web provides email access, news, entertainment, weather, sports updates, financial information, e-commerce services and air travel information, Verizon said in a statement.

Among the many Web resources providing information and services to Mobile Web are E*Trade, DLJ Direct and Fidelity Investments for financial services; ABC News and ESPN for online content; and for shopping. Microsoft's MSN online network is also included.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch said it will partner with Verizon to offer Mobile Web customers access to relevant local information, transactions and tickets via wireless handsets.

Priced at $6.95 a month, Mobile Web is comparable to rival offerings such as AT&T's new PocketNet service and Sprint's Wireless Web.

Usage time for the new service will be deducted from whatever bundle of minutes is included in the subscriber's wireless calling plan. The $6.95 fee also includes up to 100 updates or message alerts per month. Verizon is offering a free three-month trial of the Internet service to its 25 million mobile phone subscribers.

Beginning today, the service is available in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and 20 other major cities across the country. In coming weeks, another 11 cities will be added to the service coverage area.

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