Vodafone Germany in deal with Fujistu Siemens, Toshiba

The German subsidiary of Vodafone Group PLC, Europe's largest mobile operator, announced on Tuesday the availability of a one-stop mobile office service provided to corporate IT managers by Fujitsu Siemens (Holding) BV and Toshiba Europe GmbH.

The two vendors are the first to offer enterprises the "Connected by Vodafone" mobile office service, following a global distribution agreement with six vendors in November, Heiko Witzke, a spokesman at Vodafone D2 GmbH, said Monday.

The "Connected by Vodafone" service links notebooks, PDA (personal digital assistants), Tablet PCs and other wireless devices to the mobile operator's GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network. The devices are tested, configured and supported by the designated IT suppliers to the mobile operator's GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network.

"The process is a little bit like ordering a car," he said. "You go through the list of features you want and tick them off on the list. Our mobile office service is one of the features that corporate procurement officers can add to their list when they purchase wireless devices."

The deal in Germany with Fujitsu Siemens and Toshiba is not exclusive, according to Witzke. In addition to these two vendors, Vodafone Group has a global agreement with Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Psion Teklogix Ltd., he said.

Witzke declined, however, to comment on whether the other four IT suppliers would provide the one-stop mobile connectivity service in Germany.

Vodafone's German unit, which has been spearheading the group's assault on the emerging market for mobile data communication service in Europe, has launched a handful of new products over the past few months.

At the CeBIT trade show last month, the company announced the availability of two new Vodafone Mobile Connect Cards. While one card offers subscribers online access via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), the other provides online connectivity via GPRS or wireless LAN (WLAN).

Each card contains software that lets users choose between access to their company intranet with the necessary security or access to the public Internet for browsing and e-mail. The latter possibility wasn't available in an earlier version of the connection cards, launched last year.

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