Feeds

3 calls in internet big guns for mobile credibility

Sell-off of loss-maker ruled out

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Hong Kong-owned mobile outfit 3 is having another crack at convincing everyone mobile internet will take off by abandoning the traditional operator pricing blueprint.

At a flashy launch in London today, 3 said it was marking a "historic day" for the mobile internet. Canning Fok, MD of parent company Hutchison, vowed 3 would press ahead with pioneering the web on mobiles, ruling out a sell-off. He told reporters: "The time for a flotation is past."

Without giving full details, 3 announced the first commodity-style pricing model for mobile data. There'll be no by-the-minute or by-the-byte billing, rather "it's free when you see it", meaning you pay for the pipe not the data. There will be fair use caveats though, including a higher access charge for high bandwidth video.

3 has a bunch of big internet hitters on board. Partner deals with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, eBay/Skype, and Orb have ensured their services are optimised for handset screens.

Plans to bring Skype to mobile were announced by 3 back in February at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. On the surface offering an alternative to traditional voice calls is the bravest part of 3's new internet play.

Ovum principal analyst John Delaney said: "Everything about the internet that worries the mobile operators is here. Flat-rate data tariffs remove the link between service usage and end-user revenue. VoIP undermines mobile voice revenues. Instant messaging offers text messaging at a fraction of the price of SMS."

Elsewhere, Slingbox signed an exclusive deal to allow users to stream their TV direct to 3 mobiles. With mobile TV yet to prove its real world viability, this could be a canny tie-up from 3 and Slingbox. 3 gets to allay the costs of investing in further infrastructure and its customers get the wider choice of channels available to them at home, if they own a Slingbox.

The push will be branded "X-series" and will kick off with a handset a piece from Nokia and Sony Ericsson, which will be in the shops in time for Christmas in the UK and in Q1 2007 in 3's other territories.

The cash Hutchison is hurling at mobile broadband so early in the game is typical of its swashbuckling history of investment in the mobile industry. It's a dead cert the burden of risk is being shouldered by 3 rather than its big name partners. If anyone was going to properly break the ice on mobile broadband it had to be 3 with its big money backing. Global omnicorp Hutchison coined $31bn in 2005 revenues from everything from Canadian oil to Hong Kong hotels.

Of course, its not the first time 3 has told us it's revolutionising mobile internet. Today Fok was candid about failures in services, handsets and pricing.

And this time round it's going to be great. Honest. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.