3 Group, in partnership with Skype, Sling Media, Yahoo!, Nokia, Google, eBay,
Microsoft, Orb and Sony Ericsson, unleashes the true power of broadband internet over the mobile.
Hutchison Whampoa announced the global launch of the X-Series from 3. The X-Series from 3 marks the beginning of the internet via mobile broadband. 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.
“This is the internet as it was meant to be and what people have been waiting for. Mobile broadband is the natural next step for mobile services, extending the full power of the internet to mobile handsets. By partnering with the leaders of the internet and the leading handset makers, the X-Series from 3 will give everyone access to more of what they want, when they want it, and however much of it they want, all free when they use it,” said Canning Fok, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Whampoa.
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.
“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,” said Niklas Zennström, CEO, Skype.
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.
“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. 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,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media.
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.
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 free.
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.
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.