Due in October, the Cable & Wireless A-Service will provide a full service solution consisting of Compaq Ipaq and handheld devices running Microsoft Office and Exchange delivered via the Cable & Wireless IP data network.
Cable & Wireless is remaining tight-lipped over pricing details. Nick Beck, worldwide director of product engineering, said, "We do not intend to get into a price war. We will differentiate our product by reliability, quality and security compared to the rest of the emerging ASP market."
However, Beck did confirm that, unlike many other ASP offerings, there would be "no three-year lock-in".
The new service will be sold through existing Compaq and Cable & Wireless channels. Mark Howarth, senior business manager at Compaq partner Lynx technology, said, "It is our understanding that this new product will be an end-to-end solution that includes bandwidth. Depending on the number of seats required, an associated data pipe would be included within the price."
The new venture is wholly owned by Cable & Wireless, and has been financed by a $300m investment from the parent company, with an additional $200m from Compaq, which will receive a percentage of the profits.