Aether, Reuters selling wireless data in Europe

Telecommunications

May 06, 2000|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Aether Systems Inc. and Reuters Group PLC, the newswire service, said yesterday that they launched their venture to sell wireless data services in Europe.

The European joint venture, announced in February, is known as Sila Communications. It has about 50 employees.

Owings Mills-based Aether, which contributed $15 million in cash and its IFX Group, a mobile financial data outfit, owns 60 percent of the joint venture. Reuters contributed $22 million and Futures Pager, a United Kingdom-based company that provides paging and real-time delivery of financial market data. London-based Sila will provide wireless data hosting, design and management services to wireless customers.

Initially, Sila will focus on marketing its services to financial services markets. But the venture plans to expand into other sectors rapidly, the companies said.

Reuters Chief Executive Peter Job said Sila represented Reuters' plans "to accelerate ... use of the Internet and in particular to offer the ability to combine all the essential elements of an e-commerce package."

Jonathan Baile, executive vice-president of Sila, said the new company would use Aether's model of acquiring wireless data services companies for rapid expansion of customers and services. "We have very aggressive growth plans," he said.

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