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Earthlink Wants to be Your Wireless Carrier

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Earthlink wants to be your cell phone carrier. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Earthlink has been a survivor among Internet service providers….competing against larger companies including Time Warner's AOL and Microsoft. Now the company is partnering with the largest wireless carrier in South Korea…SK Telecom…to sell wireless voice and data services. CEO Garry Betty says the service, called SK-Earthlink, will use an existing CDMA high speed network..similar to the way Virgin Mobile uses Sprint's network. The idea, he says, is to use SK Telecom's expertise in bringing gee whiz kinds of services…that are available to cell phone users in Japan and South Korea…to American consumers…

"An example is they have location based services. So if you wanted to track where your friend was in New York City so that you could hook up together. The people in Korea actually watch snippets of soap operas the day after they have been run…over their cell phones."

And about the question of whether American consumers really want those kinds of services…

" People use technology when you hit on a set of circumstances that meet a specific need. Several years ago, no one would have really said that there was a requirement for a product like the iPod."

The Earthlink CEO says the new wireless service will be available by the end of the year. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.