Going Wireless: VoiceStream Acquires MobileStar; AT&T mLife Only Hype?

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Date: Tuesday, February 12th, 2002, 00:22
Category: Archive

Expanded wireless internet capabilities via mobile phone companies have largely remained vaporware here in the United States. That makes VoiceStream‘s acquisition of 802.11b providerMobileStar all the more intriguing, especially when considering VoiceStream’s existing services. Meanwhile, that AT&T Wireless ‘mLife‘ seems to be nothing but hype.


Expanded wireless internet capabilities via mobile phone companies have largely remained vaporware here in the United States. That makes VoiceStream‘s acquisition of 802.11b providerMobileStar all the more intriguing, especially when considering VoiceStream’s existing services. Meanwhile, that AT&T Wireless ‘mLife‘ seems to be nothing but hype.

MobileStar, known to many as the service provider that allows 802.11b Airport-compatible high-speed Internet in Starbucks, announced its acquisition by VoiceStream in an e-mail to customers — though the deal itself apparently took place in October. For now, MobileStar’s existing websites and support information, and even their pricing plans, remain in effect. VoiceStream promises improvements to the service. Certainly, VoiceStream has some promising offerings already including AIM text messaging.

Meanwhile, the answer to AT&T’s tantalizing question “what is mLife?” is apparently a multimillion-dollar ad blitz intended to hype existing services. If you were hoping AT&T Wireless was finally delivering on its long-standing promise to upgrade Internet capabilities, similar to extensive features offered by companies like i-Mode in Japan, it ain’t happening yet. AT&T’s mLife website is divided into sections that hype, inexplicably, text messaging (“a new way of communicating”), automated #121 recorded information, and downloadable ring tones. Huh? Next time, guys, get the technology in place first and then do the ad campaign, okay?

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