"Vodafone AirTouch is today announcing the launch of its single global platform and branded portal for mobile data and internet. The global internet platform is an architecture and a set of hardware and software which will provide a world-class mobile data and internet service.
"Vodafone AirTouch is strongly positioned to capture the explosive growth expected from mobile data and internet.
-- Vodafone AirTouch operates in 24 countries, 10 of which are controlled, and has 420 million proportionate POPs
-- In the fourth quarter of 1999 Vodafone AirTouch added almost 4 million
proportionate customers to its global customer base, to bring the total
to over 35 million. This represents growth of 38% versus the
comparable quarter in 1998
-- Vodafone AirTouch believes that mobile data and internet represents the
biggest new growth opportunity of this decade
"Vodafone AirTouch's Strategy for Mobile Data and Internet
"Vodafone AirTouch's strategy is to become the world's leading mobile multimedia operator.
To achieve this, Vodafone AirTouch aims to provide a complete range of services -- from messaging, enriched voice services, desktop applications and information services to e-commerce -- through the widest possible range of access devices, from the standard mobile phone to handheld computers. The communication media will be audio, text, graphics and video. Vodafone AirTouch's objective is to provide information anytime, anywhere, to anyone.
Vodafone AirTouch's strategy is to establish:
-- A global internet platform and
-- A superior mobile data transmission
-- Partnerships with world-class
-- The highest quality applications
and services, with both global and
-- Provision of global access to the
largest customer base in the world
The Global Internet Platform
"Vodafone AirTouch's platform is designed to achieve global reach with a single unified delivery platform. Vodafone AirTouch will use its global position to bring together the best capabilities from around the world to reduce the cost of deployment, to attract world-class partners and speed time to market in all of its operations. All of Vodafone AirTouch's local networks will be able to utilise the global architecture and interfaces to facilitate and improve their own mobile internet strategy. At the same time the flexibility of the platform will allow them to implement the specific local content and e-commerce capabilities which are being developed for their local customers.
"Vodafone AirTouch has completed the preliminary design of the platform and has begun development of the platform infrastructure. The key suppliers have also been chosen.
Key features of the platform are:
-- It will offer a significant set of applications which will be rolled
out in several phases
-- The power of the platform will be its ability to offer personalised
location-specific services in a seamless fashion across all Vodafone
AirTouch's markets and therefore leverage Vodafone AirTouch's
significant customer base
-- The platform will be accessed through a portal carrying a new global
brand, which will be announced at the time of the launch of Version 1.0
-- The platform will be supported by a major marketing campaign to promote
Vodafone AirTouch's internet portal brand in each of Vodafone
AirTouch's markets, with the support of Vodafone AirTouch's global team
-- The benefits of this high-quality unified platform will also be
available to operators that are not Vodafone AirTouch networks through
licensing opportunities in countries that Vodafone AirTouch does not
-- The platform will be continuously upgraded with additional value-added
services. Version 1.0 of the platform is expected to be launched in
July 2000, followed by Version 2.0 by the end of this year
"Vodafone AirTouch's services will be designed primarily for mobile use, but will also be accessible through fixed line service providers, to offer customers maximum flexibility. For example, customers will be able to configure their mobile internet experience from their desktop, allowing them to synchronise desktop and mobile information easily.
"The key global services of Version 1.0 will be:
-- Messaging - synchronisation of desktop applications, webmail and two
way Short Message Service (SMS)
-- Information services - games and entertainment, news and directories,
personalised information, calendar, address book, weather forecasts,
movie listings, humour and lottery results
-- E-commerce - travel and financial services including stock trading and
"Local markets will be able to add applications efficiently in addition to these select global applications. Ultimately all successful local applications will be incorporated into the set of services offered across all of Vodafone AirTouch's networks.
"Version 2.0 will offer additional access capabilities including mobile access to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and voice navigation.
"Version 2.0's messaging service enhancements will include:
-- Unified messaging
-- Remote handset synchronisation with
desktop Parallel Iterative Method
-- GPS location-based technology
-- Higher bandwidth
-- Instant messaging
-- Voice access PIMs
-- Remote synchronisation
The additional e-commerce services will include:
-- New end-to-end services such as
personal commerce, enhanced travel
and e-customer care
-- WAP-based lottery
-- MP3 download
"Vodafone AirTouch believes that this leading-edge service platform and mobile portal will offer the most attractive service in a seamless fashion across geographic markets.
Vodafone AirTouch's Partners
"Vodafone AirTouch is announcing today a number of major global partners across the mobile internet value chain of technology, content and handsets. Appendix I provides further details on each of these partners.
"Sun Microsystems, IBM and Infospace.com are synonymous with the internet. They are the key technology partners for Vodafone AirTouch's global internet platform.
-- Sun Microsystems and the Sun-Netscape Alliance will provide the carrier-grade, scaleable platform hardware, operating system, messaging platform and professional services needed to implement the platform. Vodafone AirTouch will work with Sun on the Java 2 Micro Edition platform, to bring the power of Java to mobile devices.
-- IBM will be the systems integrator, essentially integrating all of the
components brought by each of the partners. In addition, IBM will
assist with the hosting strategy and Vodafone AirTouch and IBM are
exploring more partnership opportunities in this area.
-- Infospace.com's role will be to deliver content and commerce services
across the world in a unified package to Vodafone AirTouch's customers.
Infospace.com will also ensure that content is readily available from
all mobile devices and the desktop.
"Vodafone AirTouch will work with a group of world-class partners, which are still in the process of being selected, in order to create end-to-end applications for its customers. These applications will combine information, transaction capability and the power of mobility to create high quality applications for Vodafone AirTouch's customers. The following partners are being announced today:
-- Charles Schwab, the largest online broker in the United States and one
of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, will bring stock
market information and trading capability to customers.
-- Sabre, through Sabre Business Travel Solutions and Travelocity.com,
which is leading the way in bringing travel to the internet, will
combine the latest travel information (including changes in flight
status, such as delays) with the ability to book itineraries in real
time, on the move -- a vital service for highly mobile customers.
"Vodafone AirTouch is focused on ensuring availability of devices for the launch of new services and on the development over time of devices that work more effectively with its networks. Vodafone AirTouch will work with the industry leaders in devices to ensure that its customers have an attractive set of equipment to use in accessing its mobile internet services on current and future generations of mobile networks.
-- Palm Computing will work with Vodafone AirTouch to combine the capabilities of their industry leading handheld computers and the power of their global application developer base with Vodafone AirTouch's mobile internet applications, to create a winning solution for customers.
-- Ericsson and Nokia will work with Vodafone AirTouch to ensure that a
large volume of WAP-enabled internet-ready smartphones will be
available for the July 2000 launch of the global platform, and to
develop other key systems components.
"Over time these mobile device leaders will continue to work with Vodafone AirTouch to create even more capable devices, designed to maximise customers' ability to use the next generation of mobile internet services.
"Over the next few months Vodafone AirTouch is planning to announce a number of additional partnerships both for the architecture and the development of new services.
Vodafone AirTouch's Track Record in Technology
"Vodafone AirTouch has consistently been an innovator in technology. Examples of Vodafone AirTouch's technological leadership are set out in Appendix II.
"A key strength for Vodafone AirTouch is mobile data technology, with examples including the scale of Vodafone AirTouch's UK packet radio network, its clear lead in GSM data through Europolitan and its unmatched experience with CDMA through AirTouch.
"Mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) is in its infancy. However, the use of e-commerce services is growing exponentially and the key will be to offer reliability and security to both customers and vendors. Vodafone AirTouch believes its global platform will be a key differentiator in this area and, most importantly, will allow it to deliver (including Mannesmann) 48 million proportionate customers, making the platform a very attractive partner for e-tailers.
"Because of its global scale and reach, Vodafone AirTouch is already using and working with technology that others are only now learning. This scale and innovation should enhance Vodafone AirTouch's competitive position in the future -- in terms of delivering new services successfully as these new markets develop.
Enhanced Growth From Mobile Data and Internet
"Vodafone AirTouch believes that mobile data and internet represents the biggest new growth opportunity of this decade. Vodafone AirTouch expects to derive significant increases in revenues as customers take up services such as text messaging, e-commerce, mobile internet and 3G services (such as videoconferencing and broadband internet access). Vodafone AirTouch estimates that these services will reverse the current declining trend in ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), and will increase its ARPU estimates for the year to 31 March 2004 by 20% to 25%. These significant developments highlight the power of Vodafone AirTouch's data and internet strategy.
"Further, following the combination with Mannesmann, there will be significant data and internet-related revenue benefits, in addition to the merger synergies quantified by Vodafone AirTouch in November 1999.
"Overall, these new areas of service will significantly increase Vodafone AirTouch's growth rate alone, and in combination with Mannesmann.