Aust may test global 'net phone

Australia may be the test bed for Vodafone AirTouch's global Internet strategy which was announced earlier this week.

Vodafone AirTouch's global Internet strategy is set to launch in the UK in July, but insiders say the network could hit Australia earlier.

Under the new wireless plan, Vodafone AirTouch will roll out a set of applications that its users can access worldwide.

Users will be able to access these services through a special Internet portal, Vodafone said. They will also be able to customise the portal from their PC, which the company said would allow users to better synchronise desktop information.

The first set of services includes synchronisation of desktop applications, Web mail and two different SMSs (Short Message Services). It will also include information services such as online games, news, weather, address books, calendars, directories and movie listings, Vodafone said.

To deliver these services, the company will partner with Sun Microsystems, IBM,, Charles Schwab,, Palm Computing, Ericsson and Nokia. IBM will serve as systems integrator, and Sabre and Charles Schwab will be content partners, providing travel tools and stock market information.

Vodafone in Australia declined to comment on the cost of the strategy or the cost of service for consumer use, but said the deal could be worth up to $US500 million over a three-year period.

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More about Charles SchwabEricsson AustraliaIBM AustraliaInfoSpaceNokiaPalm ComputingSabre CorpSchwabSun MicrosystemsTravelocityVodafone

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