AT&T has introduced the AT&T PrePaid Web Cents Service, a new, secure, payment alternative for consumer purchases of online digital content. AT&T's service enables digital content providers to offer consumers a way to prepay for online digital content by purchasing specialty cards in traditional retail outlets. A variety of content providers--Cellus USA, Disney Online, Shockwave.com GameBlast, and Vindigo--are joining a growing list of participating retailers as early adopters of the AT&T PrePaid Web Cents Service. Consumers will start seeing select specialty cards in some participating outlets of the PRE Solutions, Inc. Retail Partner Network, Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, and Uni-Marts, Inc. By the end of April, cards will be available in some 4,000 retail stores across the country, and many additional retail stores will be added in the coming months.
AT&T offers online content providers a full-service program. AT&T manages the retail supply chain: production, warehousing, inventory, fulfillment, and point-of-sale activation of the content providers' specialty cards, as well as day-to-day management of vendor relationships and retail operations. AT&T can also handle all transaction processing functions: PIN database management, payment authentication, customer e-care and settlements with retailers. Prepaid specialty cards supported by AT&T PrePaid Web Cents technology are sold at traditional retail outlets. They carry a specific content provider's brand and are used to purchase that provider's online content. Consumers simply purchase a card from displays at a participating retailer. The retailer activates the card at the point of sale, and it's ready for use. To use the card, the consumer logs on to the content provider's Web site directly or through the AT&T PrePaid Web Cents site (www.webcents.att.com). The consumer is prompted to enter the serial number and PIN printed on the back of the card to begin purchasing digital content. AT&T processes the payment using AT&T PrePaid Web Cents technology.
The specialty cards can be used to purchase a variety of online content such as interactive games, ring tones, graphics, maps, guidebooks, digital music, streaming audio and video, software, research services, and more. Content providers can choose to make cards available in monetary or unit denominations or in weekly, monthly or annual subscriptions. Monetary or unit denomination cards have specific values, which are applied against the purchase of the content provider's digital content. With subscription-based cards, the consumer can access the online content or make multiple downloads for the length of the subscription. Content providers can choose to have the total value of the card deducted at first use or have AT&T manage the cards' multiple transactions or additional use during a subscription period. There are no fees associated with using the specialty cards; however, users should consult the issuing content provider for additional details, prices or restrictions. Funds are not transferable from one card to another, and values cannot be combined between cards. Generally, the cards are not refundable. To ensure the best level of security, users will need Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Navigator 4.5, or more recent browsers to make purchases. AT&T teamed with Accenture, a management consulting and technology services company, to create the AT&T PrePaid Web Cents Service. Accenture is using its proprietary digital settlements solution to manage the financial transactions between AT&T and content providers. In addition, Accenture is helping broaden the product reach through its client relationships in the media and entertainment industries.
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