Sprint PCS Group on Thursday said it will offer customers nationwide the ability to easily check e-mail and surf the Web from their mobile telephones, and analysts said it is a watershed event for the slow-changing U.S. wireless industry.

The introduction of coast-to-coast service by Sprint PCS, the No. 4-ranked U.S. mobile service provider, together with a range of new phones and competitively priced services, is seen as the big-bang event to jump start competition. Rivals, all of whom already offer limited versions of the mobile Internet, are set to respond with low prices and other services.