AT&T Wireless Services and BT have the launch of the first services from Advance, the strategic alliance between the two companies.
The companies announced the first two products, WorldConnect and WorldView, designed to be of service to the combined 60 million customers that the companies have in 20 countries, they said in a joint statement.
The first service of the alliance, WorldConnect, will offer wireless coverage on the same phone number to more than 100 countries worldwide. All calls and services used in any country show up on the customer's existing wireless bill. The service will also offer new and simplified pricing plans, the companies said.
WorldView, the second offering, is designed to carry this service-plan simplification over to corporations, enabling them to buy, manage and control the portfolio of international wireless services they use through the ability to coordinate international contracts.
The service also offers competitive pricing and consolidated international management options, according to the companies
The alliance faces some interesting challenges. Currently, BT Wireless uses GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology for its mobile phone network, while AT&T uses the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) standard. The two companies said that by working with both technologies, it will be easier to migrate to a single third-generation technology.
In a related announcement today, BT Wireless launched its real-time corporate e-mail service for business customers, using AT&T's PocketNet brand. BT PocketNet allows customers to use the desktop functions of Microsoft Outlook on a wireless device.