First Data Corp., a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, and Aether Systems, Inc., a leading provider of wireless data services and systems, announced they will jointly develop and market payment products and services to businesses and consumers via wireless devices including mobile phones, Personal Digital Assistants and electronic pagers, as the first step in developing a comprehensive suite of mobile commerce (m-commerce) offerings.
This strategic alliance will leverage the existing expertise and technologies of both Aether Systems and First Data, as well as their leadership positions in the wireless and e-commerce payment markets, respectively. The companies expect to sign a definitive agreement within the next 60 days.
Products to be introduced through this alliance include a wireless wallet, a virtual point-of-sale terminal, and shopping portals. In addition, the companies will help make First Data subsidiary Western Union’s money transfer capabilities accessible to consumers through wireless devices. The first products developed through the relationship are expected to be delivered this year.
The wireless applications market is growing exponentially and represents significant business opportunities for both companies. By the end of 2002, more people are expected to gain access to the Internet through wireless devices than through personal computers, according to International Data Corp.
“The intent of this relationship with Aether is to quickly ramp up First Data’s efforts in m-commerce,” said John Duncan, executive vice president of Internet Commerce at First Data. “We view wireless commerce as yet another platform to enable businesses and consumers to pay anyone, anywhere, anytime, using any device. The market potential of m-commerce clearly provides opportunities to drive sales for merchants and value for consumers, to the benefit of our financial institution clients.”
Dave Oros, Chairman and CEO, Aether Systems, commented, “We are pleased that First Data selected Aether as a partner in the m-commerce space. By utilizing First Data’s existing Internet solutions and Aether’s enabling technologies, a market-commanding product set will emerge. Both Aether’s vertical markets and First Data’s financial institution client base represent the ideal distribution base for m-commerce offerings.”
Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Serving more than two million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money wire. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com].
Aether Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of wireless and mobile data services allowing real-time communications and transactions across a full range of devices and networks. Using its engineering expertise, the Aether Intelligent Messaging (AIM) software platform, the ScoutWare family of products (resulting from the acquisition of Riverbed Technologies, Inc.) and its network operations and customer service center, Aether Systems seeks to provide comprehensive technology-independent wireless and mobile computing solutions. Aether develops and delivers wireless data services across a variety of industries and market segments in the United States and internationally. Aether is a joint principal owner, along with 3Com Corp., of OmniSky, Inc., a wireless Internet service provider based in Palo Alto, Calif. Aether headquarters are located at 11460 Cronridge Dr., Owings Mills, MD 21117. For more information, please visit the Aether website at [http://www.aethersystems.com].