MCI Communications Venture to Be Delayed until Next Year; Company Had Planned to Introduce System Last Month

By Tyson, David O. | American Banker, June 28, 1984 | Go to article overview

MCI Communications Venture to Be Delayed until Next Year; Company Had Planned to Introduce System Last Month


Tyson, David O., American Banker


NEW YORK -- MCI Communications Corp., which had planned to introduce a home banking program last month, now says it will not be launched before next year.

a spokeman said MCI is talking to a partner, who was not identified. MCI Mail, the company's electronic message ststem, would be the basis of a home banking system that MCI officials have said would use existing switches of automated teller machine networks.

Plans for the system were disclosed last January. J. Robert Harcharik, president of MCI Digital Information Services Corp., the subsidiary which runs MCI Mail, said the company hoped to start the project with at least 500 banks.

At the videotex '84 trade fair in Chicago in mid-April, William G. McGowan, MCI chairman, said home banking would be introduced within a month.

When Mr. Harcharik this week was asked the status of he project, he referred questions to Phillip Nyborg, vice president of planning, who referred them to Bill Stern, public relations manager for MCI Mail.

"We're in final negotiations with a partner," Mr. Stern said by telephone from MCI headquarters in Washington. "Until that's fait accompli, it's premature to say anything. We're talking calendar year 1985."

MCI Mail now has come 115,000 subscribers. Mr. McGowan said in April it expects 200,000 by yearend.

Subscribers to MCI Mail are computer owners who can write letters or other documents on their keyboards and send them by one of several delivery methods. If the addressee also is an MCI Mail subscriber, delivery is instantaneous, at $1 per 7,500 characters, into what MCI calls the recipient's "Inbox." The message is there next time the recipient logs onto the system.

Or a message can be put into the U.S. Mail regular delivery for $2, delivered by courier by noon the next day in 20,000 cities for $6, or delivered by courier within four hours in 15 cities for $25.

Western Union Corp. now has a similar service, called EasyLink. American Express disavowal

Nancy Muller, director of worldwide communications for American Express Co., flatly denied that her company is a prospective partner of MCI Mail in a home banking program. …

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