A partnership with Sprint PCS, a major wireless service provider with more than 7 million subscribers, marks the third significant carrier alliance for Microsoft. The software giant also has wireless deals with Nextel and Verizon Wireless.
Mobile Internet access is expected to be a fast-growing market in the coming years, as millions of consumers buy data-ready mobile handsets. The wireless carriers are eager to offer wireless Net access for the higher profit margins it provides, while Internet companies hope to gain a cut of the revenues via content, e-commerce and other services. Consumer adoption of mobile Net services has been mostly moderate thus far, however.
In addition to content from MSN, Sprint Wireless Web customers will gain access to content from other Microsoft Net properties including Hotmail, a popular Web-based email service, news from MSNBC.com, financial data from MSN MoneyCentral, and travel information from Expedia.com.