EDS, Orange extend mobile enterprise partnership

French mobile operator Orange SA and IT service provider Electronic Data Services Corp. (EDS) have agreed to extend their nonexclusive partnership and, as a first step in the renewed partnership, to launch a new mobile enterprise service.

EDS and Orange have re-signed a master services agreement that allows the two companies to extend their five-year relationship by providing mobile services to users of corporate desktop services, a company spokesman said Friday.

Under the agreement, EDS can continue promoting its IT services to Orange's base of mobile customers, while the mobile operator can offer wireless services to the U.S. company's customer base.

EDS, based in Plano, Texas, manages around 3.3 million desktop computers for enterprise customers, while Orange has about 13.3 million business and private customers, the mobile operator said in a statement.

Taking the agreement to a new level, the two companies have also agreed to form a Wireless Center of Excellence and, as part of this initiative, to launch a new mobile enterprise service.

The service, called Extended Connected Office (ECO), will provide remote access through corporate firewalls to enterprise applications and collaboration services, according to the spokesman. "This new service will extend what EDS is doing in the desktop environment to the mobile environment," the spokesman said. "By ensuring that mobile devices and services of enterprises customers work seamlessly on our network, we will help them quickly and easily extend corporate desktop applications to their mobile sales and support teams."

ECO is slated to be launched in either late 2003 or early 2004, beginning in the U.K., followed by France and then the other countries covered by Orange via mobile data roaming agreements, the spokesman said. The operator is currently testing the service internally.

While the cost of the service will vary depending on the size and individual needs of customers, sample pricing across a group of 1,500 users could be

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