Seattle-based Qpass said yesterday it has acquired Vienna, Austria-based ucp morgen, in an attempt to get a bigger chunk of the fast-growing...

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Seattle-based Qpass said yesterday it has acquired Vienna, Austria-based ucp morgen, in an attempt to get a bigger chunk of the fast-growing mobile data market.

Currently, Qpass helps wireless carriers such as Cingular Wireless and Nextel Communications manage the delivery and billing of ringtones, music and other content purchased by a subscriber on a mobile phone.

With this acquisition, Qpass will handle another segment of that business — the part that assembles the mobile-phone display’s storefront listing content for sale.

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Privately held Qpass acquired the 60-employee Austrian company for an undisclosed amount of stock. Together, the two companies will have a full-time staff of 230.

Qpass founder and Chief Executive Chase Franklin said it made sense to buy the company so Qpass could offer its customers a system that included both processes, and together targets a soft spot among carriers.

“It is not a competency that exists at wireless operators,” Franklin said. “What they are good at is building networks and maintaining network reliability.”

As part of the acquisition, Qpass will gain new customers in North America and Europe, including T-Mobile International, Hutchinson 3G, HT Mobile and Danger.

Franklin said the acquisition comes as demand for content on mobile phones is growing rapidly.

In December, carriers using Qpass’ software collectively recorded more than $30 million in data services. That was up 50 percent from the $20 million recorded two months earlier, he said.

Franklin said Qpass raised $15 million in venture capital in 2003 and plans to continue growing through acquisition.

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or tduryee@seattletimes.com