Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kick-starting the mobile Internet

25.10.2004


Toll-free telephone numbers benefit everyone. It costs callers nothing to use them and organisations paying for the lines attract more callers. Recent trials in Europe suggest this same win-win concept could be successfully used with the mobile Internet.



Surfing the Internet is easy with a third-generation (2.5/3G) mobile phone. But these miracles of wireless technology are nowhere near as popular as expected. Perhaps because their users pay for every byte of data they receive, whereas computer users can browse the Web for virtually nothing over a fixed-line connection.

Innovative billing could ride to the rescue of 3G phones. Under the IST project Free-G, citizens of five European countries were offered the chance to access the Internet with their phones for nothing. The overall response to this "free-air access" was positive. "Free-G brought the concept of 0800 free-phone numbers to the mobile Internet," says Jennifer Kwok, project coordinator. "Our trials proved that free-air access stimulates customers to use the mobile Internet and to use it more often. Mobile operators also benefit by increasing their revenue per user."


The project took its inspiration from the now familiar 0800 numbers. The partners developed sophisticated software (mi800) that is integrated by the mobile phone operator (on its infrastructure), the company (on its website) and the service provider. When the Free-G solution is up and running, a special icon appears on the display of 3G phones, telling people which mobile websites or pages offer free or subsidised access.

According to Kwok, this new charging concept is innovative because it allows a third party such as the content provider to pay for a subscriber’s air access. "This opens opportunities for new business models and revenue-share models," she says.

In the Israeli free-access trials, the number of customers surfing Free-G areas of airline El Als website initially increased, but only in the short term. Kwok explains why: "Mobile operators in Israel charge only seven eurocents per megabyte, compared to two euros in the UK and Greece. Also, many Israeli 3G subscribers benefit from flat-rate billing. So free-air access has a minimal impact."

Trials at online stock-trading company Stocknet were more encouraging. The firm noted a significant increase in the use of its website and trading in its services, both in Norway and Germany. However, a Norwegian firm selling cinema tickets online saw only a small increase in site usage. The United Kingdom trials (with a mobile operator and an airline) showed that other billing propositions, such as free delivery and variable charging, appeal more than free access.

A Greek municipality, offering free access to an online job centre, said users admired the service but did not use it much. "The site was not very interactive: so making a dull service free was never going to increase user numbers," says Kwok. "Free-G demonstrated the business case for free-air access", she adds, noting that this concept can promote customer loyalty. "Our solution works for local and roaming environments, and produces accurate bills. But we also discovered it cannot be applied to all mobile data services and will not succeed in every mobile phone industry."

Asked to draw a main conclusion, Kwok has no hesitation. "If the mobile Internet is to take off, operators must simplify their data billing."

Contact:
Jennifer Kwok
Atos Origin
4 Triton Square
Regent’s Place
London NW1 3HG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44-7733-315606
Fax: +44-207-8304700
E-mail: jennifer.kwok@atosorigin.com

Source: Based on information from Free-G

| CORDIS Wire
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems
11.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM

nachricht Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'
08.12.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>