EarthLink customers can now view their e-mail and their personalized Web pages on some Sprint PCS cell phones, according to details of a service unveiled Thursday.
Only people who subscribe to bothcan use the free service. A
Like most of its U.S. wireless carrier competitors, Sprint has had problems convincing America's cell phone owners to upgrade to more expensive handsets that are compatible with new services such as, downloadable games and better-quality ring tones. Sprint's rivals have reported similarly low subscriber success rates.
To spur interest, cell phone service providers have begun focusing on putting familiar features and brands such as EarthLink into their service range. Carriers believe that such features and brands can act as "training wheels" to ease subscribers into more complex and financially lucrative services, according to Alan Reiter, an analyst with consulting company Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing.
As a result of Thursday's announcement, Atlanta-based EarthLink will be competing with Yahoo, which already makes access to its e-mail and Web portal available to Sprint PCS customers.
Microsoft could also join the competition soon. Many of Sprint's rivals, including, make Hotmail, MSN Messenger and other Microsoft-owned services available to subscribers. Sprint PCS is expected to respond soon with its own version of the software giant's messaging products.