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Earthlink to Offer Mobile Phone Service

Internet service provider Earthlink plans to get into the cell phone business by offering mobile phone service over its citywide wireless networks through its partnership with South Korea�s SK Telecom, a company executive said Thursday.

The service provider will offer cell phones able to switch between its Wi-Fi networks and cellular networks in cities where the company runs a Wi-Fi network beginning sometime next year, Donald Berryman, the president of EarthLink Municipal Networks, told RedHerring.com.

The plan will no doubt further raise the ire of telcos, as telcos, cable companies, and others have lobbied for legislation to stop municipalities from offering wireless networks. By selling cell phones, Earthlink could dominate wireless communications in cities, beyond just its immediate Wi-Fi plans. Earthlink won a contract to blanket Philadelphia with a 135-square-mile Wi-Fi mesh network. Earthlink said it will look to offer citywide wireless networks in 20 to 30 cities over the next two years.

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