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OmniSky shares jump in first-day trading

Shares of OmniSky, a provider of wireless Internet access for Palm Pilots and other devices, soar nearly 47 percent in first-day trading.

Shares of OmniSky, a provider of wireless Internet access for PalmPilots and other devices, soared nearly 47 percent in first-day trading.

This morning, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company sold 9.1 million shares at $12 each, the top of its $10 to $12 range. When they opened for public trading, the shares quickly climbed to $18.25 before falling back to $16. Shares closed at $17.63.

The shares trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "OMNY." Credit Suisse First Boston handled the sale.

OmniSky sells wireless modems for $299 and charges a monthly subscription fee of $39.95. As of August 2000, the company had 21,300 subscribers.

OmniSky's wireless portal is compatible with the Palm operating system and Microsoft's Pocket PC OS. Currently providing service for the Palm products, the company will soon support the Handspring Visor and Hewlett-Packard's Jornada 540 Series of handheld mobile devices.

Patrick S. McVeigh, OmniSky's 48-year-old co-founder and chief executive, previously was vice president of sales and business development at Palm.

"I really like the company for the long term," said Matt Zito, author of "Trade IPOs Online" and founder of IPOguys.com. "Communications are going from the desktop to these devices that people are going to take on vacation, to the supermarket and to the golf course. You're going to have to connect somehow, and you're going to have to go through a service provider, and that's what OmniSky's going to try to do."

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IPO forecast
Sales of handheld devices are expected to exceed 1 billion by 2003, with approximately 60 percent capable of wireless Internet access, according to The Yankee Group, a market research firm cited in the company's prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Despite the growing market, OmniSky has lost considerable money. In the first six months of 2000, the company lost about $40 million on revenues of $2.1 million.

OmniSky's IPO is just the second by a tech company in the past three weeks. Tuesday, shares of Israeli-based software company ViryaNet went public.

TTM Technologies, which makes circuit boards, also began trading today. The Redmond, Wash.-based company rose $6.50, or 41 percent, to $22.50 and traded as high as $24.

The company, which trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TTMI," sold 7.5 million shares at $16 each, $1 above its $13 to $15 range. Robertson Stephens handled the sale.