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4/30/2009
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AT&T, Hertz Putting Wireless In Rental Cars

The partnership will let drivers remotely connect with Hertz employees to locate and unlock vehicles, as well as to provide tracking and driving time.

AT&T has teamed up with Hertz to provide wireless service that will allow the car rental company to enable, monitor, and manage some 1,500 vehicles in its short-term Connect by Hertz program.

The Hertz car-sharing program -- similar to the program established by Zipcar -- enables consumers to sign up for cars on an hourly basis. Connect by Hertz was launched in December with a few dozen cars in the New York City area. Hertz said Thursday that it plans to use the AT&T wireless network to enable drivers to remotely connect with Hertz employees to locate and unlock vehicles as well as to provide tracking and driving time.

"Meeting our customers' needs and providing car sharing products were key drivers behind developing a wireless solution for Connect by Hertz," Joseph Eckroth, senior VP and chief information officer of the Hertz, said in a statement.

Hertz indicated the arrangement with AT&T was helped by the fact that the two companies have had a longtime business partnership -- Hertz's airport and local car rental counters and major corporate sites are already connected via AT&T's VPN service, and devices using AT&T services are utilized to log in rental vehicles and print receipts when customers return their cars to Hertz lots.

Hertz's partnership with AT&T will deliver an end-to-end solution with one contact point, beginning when a customer makes a reservation for a car to the time when the car is returned.

Connect by Hertz seems to mimic the successful program by Zipcar, which has more than 5,500 cars available for short-term rental in more than a dozen large cities.


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