Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
MmO2 posts first UK 3G pricing
OXFORD, United Kingdom-In what would appear to be an industry first, U.K.-based cell-phone operator MmO2 has published tariffs for its third-generation (3G) service running in the Isle of Man. The company has been conducting pilot trials of 3G services on the island for some months and now apparently feels confident to announce four pricing bands aimed at corporate, SME, consumer and mobile Internet users. However, while analysts have reacted positively to the announcement, the subscription charges look heavyweight to others. The monthly charge starts at 68 euro (US$65.5) for residential users, including an extra 39 euro (US$37.6) for up to 20 Megabytes and 1.5 euro (US$1.44) for each additional Megabit. Prices increase to about 134 euro (US$129) per month for corporate users and between 93 (US$89) and 109 euro (US$105) for SMEs. These charges do not include voice calls, which would typically add around 53 euro (US$51) a month for U.K. subscriptions. Mark Briers, director of 3G for MmO2, said that the objective of this commercial trial is to find out what customers want and how much they are willing to pay for the various services. “We have an initial pricing structure, but will be testing a number of pricing strategies during the trial in order to look at price elasticities,” he said. … Read more
China Unicom tempts customers to CDMA
BEIJING-Mobile-phone operator China Unicom has introduced promotional offers in at least 10 Chinese cities to attract subscribers to its fledgling CDMA network. Unicom originally positioned its CDMA services as a high-end alternative for rival China Mobile’s and the company’s own GSM services, but consumers were slow to switch due to a lack of incentives and CDMA-compatible handsets. Unicom is now offering several incentives. Subscribers can choose free minutes worth between 150 yuan (US$18) and 500 yuan (US$60.5) or opt for a bucket plan of 170 minutes of local calls at a discount of at least 45 percent. Customers trading in their GSM handsets are offered a 1,000 yuan (US$121) rebate. China Unicom is now also trying to attract middle and low-end users. The company claims to have signed slightly more than 1 million subscribers on its CDMA network, which has a capacity of 15.5 million users. The company’s target of 7 million users at year-end is still far off. … Read more
Hutchison 3G preps for UK 3G launch amid rumors of possible delay
OXFORD, United Kingdom and DUBLIN, Ireland-Looking to become the first company to launch third-generation (3G) services in the United Kingdom, Hutchison 3G has denied press reports that it is quietly slipping the launch date due to fears of handset shortages and technical problems. The speculation arose following a comment made by Colin Tucker, managing director of Hutchison 3G, that the company would launch when ready. “It would cause chaos in the market if we went too early. Not only would it be detrimental to us, but imagine what it would do to the financial markets,” Tucker is reported to have said. A company spokesman has since stated that Hutchison 3G is sticking to its original plans to launch services by the fourth quarter and will have dual-mode cell phones ready in time for the launch. Hutchison, which has 3G infrastructure deals with NEC and Nokia, said its network will have coverage in all the United Kingdom’s major towns and cities, covering roughly half the population. … Read more
Dearth of 3G handsets delays Finland’s 3G investment
HELSINKI, Finland-The shortage of UMTS terminals in Finland’s retail market is seriously hindering the construction of third-generation (3G) mobile networks. 3G license holders are warning that delays can be expected in the rollout of 3G networks. “While the situation in Finland has not reached a complete standstill, there is no great enthusiasm on the part of 3G license holders to build expansive networks before commercial operations commence,” said Mika Matturi, vice president of Sonera’s Mobile Operations division. Sonera is the only Finnish mobile operator to have set a date for the launch of commercial services on its 3G network. This will happen on 26 September, the same day Nokia is scheduled to launch its new and long-awaited 3G handsets. Sony Ericsson is expected to release its new UMTS handsets in October or November. Nokia expects that it will be able to supply its new UMTS terminals to the wider market during the first half of 2003. It is unclear how seriously the lack of UMTS terminals will impact the 3G rollout delays in Finland. Sonera believes the delay could be as short as three months, while other telecom companies, including Radiolinja, are forecasting a four- to six-month postponement. … Read more
3G faces slow going in Singapore
JAKARTA, Indonesia-The slow development of third-generation (3G) services around the world has influenced mobile operators in Singapore to re-think the urgency of launching 3G services in the city state. In contrast to the recent decision of SingTel Mobile, which delayed the 3G equipment tender award due to a lack of applications, MobileOne (M1), which was awarded a Singapore 3G license in April 2001, has just made the country’s first live 3G packet data call using commercial 3G infrastructure. It marked a significant phase of the rollout program for the W-CDMA network that M1 started about a year ago. M1’s W-CDMA network is expected to be fully completed and ready for services in the second half of next year. Factors such as the availability of 3G handsets will influence the exact launch date. According to the country’s regulator, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), the deadline for 3G rollout is still set for 31 December, 2004, although some industry players have suggested the agency delay or remove the deadline considering the worldwide delay in implementing 3G networks. … Read more
GSA starts program to help grow 3G
LONDON-The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) announced the establishment of Xpdia, a program designed to encourage industry and government to continue to grow third-generation mobile multimedia services. “We are actively supporting start-up wireless content and application developers globally through our New Ventures Program (NVP) because we recognize that such enterprises are the future lifeblood of the mobile industry,” said Alan Hadden, president of the GSA. “We predict that Xpdia will establish many new companies who will later join the NVP program to support them to deliver compelling market solutions.”
Virgin Mobile readies its US MVNO for launch
WARREN, N.J.-Virgin Mobile USA L.L.C. unveiled its long-awaited plans to launch its mobile virtual network operator service this summer. The company, which is a joint venture between U.K.-based Virgin Group and U.S. wireless operator Sprint PCS, said it will offer prepaid service targeted to the youth market with what it dubbed a new approach to cellular service. The service does not require a credit check or a contract, and customers will be charged 25 cents per minute for the first 10 minutes of talk time each day and 10 cents per minute after that. With its focus on the youth market, Virgin was quick to point out each day would begin at 5 a.m., noting young people tend to stay up late making phone calls. The pricing structure will include voice mail, caller identification, call waiting, long distance on Sprint PCS’ wireless network, surcharges and taxes. Virgin USA said its customers would have a variety of ways to top-up their calling minutes, including through the company’s Web site and by buying top-up cards through 11,000 retail outlets. … Read more
Lack of mobile game marketing by carriers seen a industry barrier
DUBLIN, Ireland—Cellular operators need to market mobile entertainment applications more aggressively if many more games applications developers are not to go out of business. This is the view of international telecommunications consultancy BWCS, which claims developers will be forced under unless operators are more proactive. “A number of major developers we have spoken with have complained of a lack of promotion of mobile gaming services by network and portal operators,” warned BWCS consultant Arthur Drewitt. “If service providers fail to wake up to the potential of wireless gaming, some of these new services could go virtually unnoticed by subscribers. Smaller applications developers would no doubt be forced out of business if their products fail to catch on with the public.” “While there is no doubt that a vast opportunity exists for mobile entertainment services, a number of other barriers still remain,” he added. “For example, problems with billing and payment systems, slow network speeds, security issues and the limitations of existing handsets must all be overcome in order for the market to be able to move forward.” … Read more
DoCoMo dabbles in Wi-Fi
TOKYO-NTT DoCoMo, the leading mobile carrier in Japan, on Thursday announced that it will launch wireless local area network (WLAN) service on 1 July. The new service, called “Mzone,” will be provided in nine locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including major hotels and exhibition centers. The data transmission speed is 11 Megabits per second (Mbps), and the monthly charge is 2,000 yen (US$16.21). The service is based on the IEEE 802.11b standard from the U.S.-based Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). … Read more
IBM, HP expand mobile data offerings
SAN JOSE, Calif.—Technology giants IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. both continued to reinforce their wireless data offerings through new resale and licensing agreements, a strategy the two companies have been employing a great deal recently. HP licensed Pixo Inc.’s Mobile Download Server for wireless Java downloading. HP said it will use the Pixo MDS to provide new wireless solutions and services to mobile operators in Asia Pacific. Separately, HP will resell ViaFone’s OneBridge product, which gives mobile workers wireless access to corporate information. The two companies announced pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough Israel as their first customer. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.
The post #TBT: Dabbling in 3G pricing; slow going in 3G handsets, networks; Virgin Mobile prepares for US launch … this week in 2002 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.