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Sprint PCS targets business customers

Seeking to respond to a growing market segment, the wireless unit of the telecommunications giant unveils new services, including faster connectivity and the ability to link with a corporate intranet.

Seeking to respond to a growing market segment, Sprint PCS has unveiled new products and services for business customers that include faster connectivity and the ability to link with a corporate intranet.

The wireless unit of telecommunications giant Sprint said its business customers will have real-time wireless access to Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, customer account information, corporate directory services, and personalized travel information.

Since the introduction of wireless Web services a year ago, Sprint PCS has seen a 285 percent increase in national business accounts, interim president Ronald LeMay said in a statement. Sprint said corporate network security won't be compromised by wireless connections.

"Our user base has been traditionally very mobile," said Amy Reuss-Caton, Lotus Notes senior brand marketing manager at IBM subsidiary Lotus Development. As part of Lotus' partnership with Sprint PCS, the companies will co-market Sprint's wireless Web service to Lotus Notes' 60 million users.

Higher connection speeds are part of the new offering, with a connection comparable to a 56-kbps (kilobits per second) dial-up connection, because of what Sprint PCS said is "new bandwidth optimization technology" and upgraded dialer software.

Business customers will have two options for connecting to the Internet. A CDMA modem fitting a Type II PC slot on a Windows-based modem comes with its own phone number, allowing people to talk separately on a handset. Alternatively, a connection kit allows the handset to be connected to Windows CE devices, Windows notebooks and Apple Macintosh portables.

Reuss-Caton said Lotus, which already has a similar agreement with AT&T Wireless, appreciates the fact that the microbrowser with Sprint PCS phones recognizes the HDML code used by Lotus. As far as any future plans to support Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), she said Lotus "will move toward WAP as the market does."

Other Sprint PCS partners are Wireless Knowledge, PeopleSoft, Sabre Group and Siebel Systems.