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3 UK to expand handset net access

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3 UK looks set to increase the amount of content its punters can view on the net using their 3G phones.

Following a tip-off by a vulture-eyed reader, El Reg has learnt that the mobile operator is on the verge of providing an internet access service shortly with an announcement to be made as early as next week.

At the moment users can access limited internet content available on 3's portal. Now the mobile operator looks set to allow users to explore beyond this "walled-garden" with the launch of two new services - "Mobile Web" and "Wireless Web".

Details are still sketchy but it's understood that Mobile Web is to give punters access to a limited number of websites which have to be vetted by 3 beforehand. The restrictions are based on 3's keenness to ensure that punters are able to view the sites they want to access.

The last thing the operator wants is for punters to access sites that are slow to load or simply don't work with 3 handsets and its network.

When the product is launched it's expected that up to 200 sites could be accessible to begin with, with others to be added at a later date with punters suggesting sites they would like to see.

The Wireless Web service enables users to plug their 3 handset into their laptop to access the net on the move.

Both services are expected to be made available to contract customers initially although details of how much both services cost are still being kept under wraps. ®

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