Wireless service doesn't deliver for Postal Service

Citing lack of customer interest, the US Postal Service (USPS) is suspending its wireless access to selected services.

          Citing lack of customer interest, the US Postal Service (USPS) is suspending its wireless access to selected services.

          The service will remain in effect until April 7, according to USPS spokesman Mark Saunders.

          "It was a pilot programme and didn't find the support among customers," Saunders says. He declineds to provide figures on the numbers of customers who had used the wireless service.

          Launched last year, the service allowed customers to use wireless devices such as web-enabled digital phones and Pocket PCs, as well as BlackBerry pagers from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based Research In Motion and personal digital assistants from Santa Clara, California-based Palm, to track and confirm delivery of packages, find ZIP+4 codes for any address in the US or Puerto Rico, locate the five post offices closest to any given street address and get directions to the selected office.

          Although the Postal Service's experiment to provide wireless access to its customers has failed, similar programmes at United Parcel Service and DHL Worldwide Express continue to grow.

          UPS spokeswoman Laurie Mallis says that the Atlanta-based company last month started offering wireless access in 35 countries.

          "We expect the need for wireless tracking will grow," Mallis says. "It's another way we demonstrate our commitment to mobile commerce. We want to provide access to our customers' shipments anytime, anywhere."

          John Fontanella, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston, says the service probably didn't fly at the USPS because users didn't mail their time-critical packages via the Postal Service and therefore wouldn't need to track their packages using wireless technology.

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