Ameritrade Joins With Sprint PCS To Make Wireless Trading A Reality

Online brokerage Ameritrade (Nasdaq: AMTD) and Sprint PCS, the first carrier to launch nationwide wireless Internet services, announced today that they have formed an alliance that will enable Ameritrade customers to access accounts, place trades and receive stock alerts via Sprint PCS wireless phones.

The service, which is the first of its kind on wireless phones, is expected to be available later this month.

“This marks the first time that customers in the United States can open an account and place trades directly over the wireless Internet via a wireless phone,” said Andrew Sukawaty, president of Sprint PCS. “Similar to the evolution of online services, our agreement with Ameritrade represents the next phase of the Sprint PCS Wireless Web, moving from anytime, anywhere information access to a mobile environment that offers consumers a full suite of clear, simple transactional shopping and financial services.”

Fees Are The Same For Ameritrade Customers

Customers who have an Internet-ready Sprint PCS Phone will be able to access their Ameritrade accounts at no extra charge as part of any of the Sprint PCS wireless Web service plans. The same Ameritrade fees apply whether the customer is using a computer or a wireless phone to access the service.

“After extensive reviews, we selected Sprint PCS as our wireless provider of choice because the company offers the highest quality and best overall coverage in the metropolitan areas where Ameritrade customers live and work,” said Thomas K. Lewis, Jr., co-CEO of Ameritrade.

Ameritrade Also Offers After-Hours Trading

In addition to offering wireless access to its services, Ameritrade is developing its after-hours trading presence. Rather than selecting just one provider, Ameritrade will offer after-hours trading through several providers, including the Island ECN, MarketXT, Knight Securities and the Chicago Stock Exchange.

Earlier in the summer, Ameritrade expanded its customer-service hours to 24 hours a day, Sunday through Friday.

Stock Impact

Shares of Ameritrade climbed a 1/2 point to 19-1/16 in early trading today after the news. Online brokerage stocks have struggled recently, largely because the competition in the sector is fierce and the cost of customer acquisition is increasing. Ameritrade, in particular, has been hit hard. The stock is well off its 52-week high of 62-3/4, but it is also well above its 52-week low of 2-3/16.

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