MCI, British Telecom and NTT Data Communications are to roll out an Internet roaming service that will simplify Internet access for users traveling among the US, Europe and Japan.
The service will be offered to 1,000 people for testing next month, and will be commercially available from July. Though it will initially target the U.S., United Kingdom and Japan, it will gradually be expanded to other regions in the world including the broad Asia-Pacific area.
The service will initially be spearheaded by MCI and NTT Data, a major Japanese systems integrator, but will be joined by BT when its merger with MCI is completed later this year, according to Vinton Cerf, senior vice president for Internet architecture at MCI. The merged MCI-BT will be known as Concert.
When complete, the service will enable customers to access their home provider with a local telephone number while overseas. For instance, a customer of NTT Data's Dream Net service traveling in the U.S. will be able to dial into MCI's service and access the Internet using their Dream Net software. In addition to the local phone call the monthly charge for the service will be about 300 yen (US$2.50) plus 900 yen per hour.
In addition the companies say they will jointly develop security services and other value-added services as part of the roaming offering.