January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

"First Step" M-Commerce Agreement

Electronic commerce and payment services firm First Data Corp. and wireless data services and systems provider Aether Systems Inc. will jointly develop and market payment products and services to businesses and consumers via wireless devices including mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and electronic pagers as the "first step" in developing a comprehensive suite of mobile commerce, or "m-commerce," offerings. The companies expect to sign a definitive agreement within the next 60 days. Products to be introduced through this alliance include a wireless wallet, a virtual point-of-sale terminal and shopping portals, say Atlanta-based First Data and Owing Mills, Md.-based Aether Systems. Further, the companies will help make First Data subsidiary Western Union's money transfer capabilities accessible to consumers through wireless devices. The first products developed through the relationship are expected to be delivered this year, according to the companies.

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