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3 UK confirms mobile web plans

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3 UK has confirmed plans to give its mobile phone users access to the web. From mid-September punters can cough up £2.50 a month to use their 3G handsets to access online content.

Up until now Hutchison-owned 3 has tended a "walled garden" of content for its punters.

Now, though, its punters can download 5 meg - around 500 pages - of content a month for the price of a pint.

However, the introduction of 3's "Mobile Web" service will not give users unrestricted access to the web.

Instead, 3 is vetting the sites that are available because it wants to ensure that web sites - such as the BBC, eBay and Amazon - have been "optimised for viewing on compatible video mobiles".

"This means the customer can be sure that both front pages and sub-pages are viewable, that the speed of download is high and that all the site's key activities are available," it said.

3 COO Gareth Jones said that "only a fraction of the internet works well on mobile" but insisted that the mobile operator is "committed to extending the choice of high-quality video mobile services".

He added that users can nominate sites they want to access and 3 will "check whether they make sense on mobile".

"We expect to add hundreds more over the coming months," he said.

3, which claims to have more than three million users in the UK, also confirmed that its Wireless Web service - which enables users to plug in their mobile to their lappy to access the net - will be launched in the next couple of weeks and cost £45 a month. ®

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