AOL and Verizon launch mobile IM service

The service allows AOL members and registered users of the popular AOL(r) Instant Messenger(tm) (AIM(r)) service to send instant messages directly from their desktop computers to Verizon Wirelesscustomers simply by typing the phone number of the person they want to reach. In turn, Verizon Wireless subscribers can respond to incoming messages from their phones even if they do not have an AIMor AOL Screen Name. Verizon Wireless is the first wireless network operator to commercially launch this service.

As part of the service, AOL members and AIM users who are also Verizon Wireless customers can forward incoming instant messages to their wireless phones when they are away from their computers by using AOL’s new IM Forwarding feature. Through preference settings within AIM and the AOL Buddy List(r) feature, users can register their wireless phones to automatically forward messages to their Verizon Wireless phone when offline, away or idle. Users can also easily respond to incoming instant messages from their Verizon Wireless phone. Mobile IM and IM Forwarding functionality were first rolled out in the 8.0 Plus version of the AOL client launched this March and just launched yesterday with the release of AIM 5.2.

With the launch of the Mobile IM service, America Online and Verizon Wireless are extending their relationship as well as the wide range of AOL services available for Verizon Wireless customers. In September of 2002, both companies announced the availability of full AIM service, including access to the popular AOL Buddy List(r) feature, for Verizon Wireless customers and in August 2002, convenient wireless access to AOL Mail and other AOL content was made available via the Verizon Wireless Mobile Web service.

Jim Straight, VP Wireless Data and Multimedia Services for Verizon Wireless, said, “As we continue to lead the wireless and messaging markets in the U.S., we are always working to create additional ways for our members to keep in touch with all forms of short messaging. Messaging between Verizon Wireless and other wireless networks continues to grow, and are proud to offer this extended capability in our growing relationship with AOL.”

“This new feature will bring added convenience to instant messaging users by providing them with the easiest way yet to contact friends and family members who are on the run,” said Steven McArthur, Executive Vice President for AOL Messaging. “Additionally, by adding an instant messaging forwarding feature, those AOL members and AIM users who are also Verizon Wireless subscribers will be able to ensure that no matter where they are their IM’s will follow.”

The AIM service is used by millions of Verizon Wireless customers every day to communicate in real-time with friends, family and colleagues. Instant messaging has become an online phenomenon, and now, by allowing AIM messages to be sent directly to and from SMS phones, AOL and Verizon Wireless are making it even easier for those on the go to keep in touch while away from their computers.

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