3 to focus on boosting internet services this year


3 UK outlined its vision to push mobile broadband and internet services on its networks at a roundtable forum this week.

Chief executive Kevin Russell said targeting services such as VoIP, email and instant messaging would give it a head start over its larger rivals.

Russell said: “Email, VoIP, instant messaging – these are areas we will push hard.
“These are communications services that go around the traditional mobile voice and text regime, so they are very appropriate for 3 to target.”

Russell was less interested in mobile TV, arguing that the focus should be more streamlined to make it easier to take on opportunities as they arise.

Russell said he expected mobile broadband to have over one million users in the UK by end of this year, but said it would be some time before it would replace fixed broadband.

He added that data traffic on 3 UK’s network had increased seven-fold since it launched its USB dongle, and called on the industry to explore internet connectivity on mobile handsets.

Global Insight European telecoms analyst Emeka Obiodu said there was still much to be done to improve the user experience, pricing, speed and capacity issues of mobile broadband in the UK as a whole.

“The forecast of one million subscribers by the end of 2008 would account for less than six per cent of the total UK broadband market. That figure pales when compared to Finland, where mobile broadband accounted for eight per cent of the market by the end of last year.”