Whampoa Limited today announced the global launch of the X-Series from 3. The
X-Series from 3 marks the beginning of the internet via mobile broadband and
heralds a new way of doing business for mobile network operators. It will extend
several of the core applications and uses of the broadband internet to the
mobile handset, with a new pricing model. The X-Series from 3 will be supported
by the leading internet companies, cutting-edge handsets from the world's
leading mobile manufacturers and premium customer service.
Customers will be able to make unlimited calls from their mobile using Skype,
watch their home television via their mobile using Sling, access their home PC
remotely using Orb and have access to the best of internet and messaging
services from Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger and Google.
The X-Series from 3 will allow people to communicate, find information and be
entertained in ways they have never been able to do before using a mobile
handset. With X-Series, the 3 Group is sharing the power of mobile broadband
with its internet partners and above all, with its customers who will get more
of what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and without fear of
hidden charges every step of the way at the point of use.
At today's launch presentation the 3 Group announced global partnerships with
major internet brands Sling Media, Orb and Google. These partnerships build on
global agreements announced earlier this year with Skype, Microsoft and Yahoo!
X-Series customers will be charged flat access fees for X-Series mobile
broadband services on top of their basic subscription. The access fees will
include all you can Skype, all you can chat by instant text message and all you
can search and browse. There will initially be an additional access fee for
customers who also take higher-bandwidth services like Sling and Orb. Just like
the fixed line internet, all X-Series services will be free at the point of use,
subject only to fair usage limits.
The X-Series will lay the foundations for the mobile broadband charging
models of the future. The broadband internet is based on a completely different
economic model than that of most mobile operators today. As internet and media
technologies have evolved, customers are able to do more at less cost. Customers
in the future will be attracted by greater and greater choice, and higher and
higher usage levels, for fair, attractive and transparent access fees.
This charging structure overturns the traditional telephony model of charging
per minute, per message, per click, per event and per megabyte. This is made
possible by the rapid development of all IP (internet protocol) mobile networks,
HSDPA and HSUPA network speed upgrades, peer-to-peer technologies, and a number
of efficiency improvements in every aspect of a mobile operator's business. As a
result, the cost of providing broadband internet and media applications in
mobility may be expected to continue to decline, as it has in the internet and
fixed-line broadband world.
An X-Series customer will be able to make and receive unlimited Skype calls
with Skype PC users anywhere in the world, and to any other Skype 3 mobile
customer. Skype to Skype calls on a 3 mobile will be free.
Niklas ZennstrÃƒÂ¶m, CEO, Skype, said: "Over the last three years, Skype has
changed the way people communicate with one another. There are 136 million
Skype users today who are making free calls to other Skype users across the
world. With 3, I am very proud to say that for the first time, our users can
now try out making Skype calls on the move using a mobile phone. We always
want to delight our users by letting them try out new ways of keeping in
touch. This is a real milestone for Skype because now you can use Skype
beyond the PC, no matter where you happen to be."
An X-Series customer who purchases a Slingbox will be able to watch anything
they are able to watch on their own TV, including their terrestrial TV, Freeview,
cable, and satellite TV, at the same time, on their mobile. Slingbox will also
let X-Series customers control their home personal video recorder (PVR) to watch
shows they have recorded, pause and rewind live TV, or even queue a recording
when away from home using their mobile.
Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media, said: "Working
together with 3 has enabled us to push the boundaries of TV viewing further
than ever before. 3 understands the power of mobile broadband to deliver
compelling, value-add applications and services like a truly personalized
mobile TV experience. We are thrilled to be working with them. The
availability of SlingPlayer Mobile for 3 customers is a major breakthrough
in mobile TV viewing. Customers can now view all the programmes they love to
watch at home whilst on the move via their mobile phone."
Using Orb means people can access the digital content that they have stored
on their PC at home, including music files, playlists, digital photos and
videos, on their X-Series handset. Orb has specifically designed a user
interface for X-Series handsets, which will ensure the X-Series customers taking
Orb will receive the best user experience.
Joe Costello, Chairman and co-founder of Orb Networks, said: "3 Group
just gets it. They are the first mobile media company to give their
customers the freedom and choices to use the mobile Web the way it was
intended to be used. Who doesn't want the freedom to control what digital
media we enjoy, when we enjoy it and where? That's the type of media freedom
Orb provides. 3 is not running away from the future, they are running
towards it with open arms, ripping down the wall around the garden and
offering up the best Web 2.0 services to their customers."
X-Series from 3 will offer customers text instant messages, to or from
Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger, to another X-Series handset, or a
PC. Sending and receiving text instant messages with an X-Series mobile will be
Sharon Baylay, General Manager, Microsoft Online Services Group UK, said:
"We're excited to be bringing one of Microsoft's best of breed
communications services to 3's network. Already, in the UK alone, 3 users
are having one million Windows Live Messenger conversations every day. These
are exciting numbers and mobile broadband will bring a rapid shift in the
delivery of internet services, and consumers' usage of them. This
announcement shows Microsoft at the forefront of the mobile broadband
revolution and we will continue to roll out Ã¢â‚¬Ëœanywhere access' to our leading
Open Internet Access and Search Customers will be able to search the internet
without limitation from their mobile using a Google or Yahoo search engine,
depending on their choice and the search services available in their country.
Searching and browsing the internet on mobile will be free.
Terry Semel CEO of Yahoo said: "Approximately three billion people in the
world today are using mobile devices, and to have the ability to connect to
those three billion, with broadband capabilities, and allow them to take
advantage of Yahoo! services on the go is a huge opportunity for both our
company and for 3."
Dominique Vidal, Regional Vice President & Managing Director of Yahoo!
Europe, said: "As the number of consumers accessing the Internet on their
mobile devices continues to grow, creating and partnering to deliver
innovative mobile communications services, personalized content and an
intuitive search experience is a key component to Yahoo!'s future success.
With the launch of broadband mobile Internet, 3 Group and Yahoo! can now
deliver the rich and personalized Internet experiences that consumers want
on the go."
Jim Holden, Director Wireless Strategic Partnerships, Google, said: "We
want people to be able to find useful information on the internet wherever
they are. 3 share this goal. Mobile search offers people the chance of a
rich internet experience on the go. Our agreement takes us a step further to
meeting this ambition."
X-Series customers will be able to shop on eBay real-time. Searching and
browsing and bidding will be free. This will give eBay users with access to 3
the ability to enjoy enhanced opportunities to buy and sell on the go and not
just in front of their PCs. With 3 and X-Series, eBay sellers and buyers will be
able to stay connected to one another when and where they want.
The global launch of the X-Series from 3 is being made possible by the first
two handsets that will support this full range of services: the Nokia N73 and
the Sony Ericsson W950i.
The X-Series from 3 will be priced like fixed line broadband. It will offer
use of mobile internet services free at the time of use, for a flat fee. The
X-Series from 3 will be available in the UK from the 1st December 2006 and in
3's other markets around the world in early 2007. Each 3 company will provide
further details as they launch X-Series in their markets.
Cheers ~ Arne