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Network Solutions dials up 411 deal

The domain firm signs a multi-year deal with telecommunications company Metro One, under which it will offer users the ability to look up Net firms using wireless devices.

Metro One Telecommunications today said it has signed a multi-year agreement with Network Solutions for the use of its domain name registrar database.

Under the deal, Beaverton, Ore.-based Metro One, which offers so-called enhanced directory assistance services primarily to wireless users, said it will license its Business Category Thesaurus to NSI for use in its "dot com" directory, where users can go to find online businesses.

The thesaurus will enable users to search by popular products and brand names as well as thousands of commonly understood business categories and subjects, such as ISP, e-commerce, Web hosting, Microsoft Word, cell phones, Pentium processor and others.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In turn, Metro One said it plans to make Herndon, Va.-based NSI's domain name registration data available through its Enhanced Directory Assistance services by next year. By dialing 411 on a regular telephone, callers will be able to request domain names of businesses' Web sites ending in ".com," ".net" and ".org." throughout the United States and other countries.

Rich Valera, a financial analyst at Needham & Co., said the market for Metro One's services is currently fairly small, but growing as the subscriber rate for wireless products continue to escalate. The company competes in a growing market against smaller companies such as Infonxx and Hebcom.

Unlike the majority of 411 directory services offered by larger telecommunications companies, Valera said Metro One doesn't charge callers a connection fee, which is a plus for wireless users.