Bits & Bytes
U.S. SMALL FRY CONNECTS WITH NTT
EVER FEEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN REDUCED TO A NUMBER? Next spring, customers of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. will know that feeling when the telecom giant introduces its One Number Service, which ties a cellular phone, fax machine, pager, and other communications devices to one phone number that will go wherever a person travels. What's more, the Japanese service is getting its start from a surprisingly small U.S. source: AccessLine Technologies Inc., a Bellevue (Wash.) company that grossed less than $100 million in sales last year.
While the technology has been around for 12 years, the market for one-number service is just emerging with the growth of the cellular phone industry. Already, there are a dozen or so players ranging from well-known BellSouth Corp., with its ProLink service, to lesser-known AccessLine. The Japanese deal is expected to give AccessLine a much-needed boost, providing the company entree into the 50 cellular markets in Japan as well as up to $75 million in additional revenues.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG