Europe's first commercial universal mobile telecommunications service (UMTS) will be launched in the Isle of Man, it was
announced today by BT and Manx Telecom, a wholly owned subsidiary.
The next generation mobile communications service will be introduced early next year in collaboration with leading mobile handset and network suppliers, NEC and Siemens. NEC will be
providing the base station, air interfaces and terminal devices and Siemens will be responsible for the provision of core switching technology.
It will position BT as a world-leader in the provision of mobile multimedia data services and will provide invaluable experience to use throughout its global mobile operations and alliances.
Today's announcement follows the Isle of Man Government's decision last year to allow Manx Telecom to provide third generation
communications services throughout the island.
Work began immediately to build the UMTS network which will deliver multimedia information to new mobile handsets and devices at speeds at least 10 times faster than today's global services
mobile (GSM) and forthcoming general packet radio system (GPRS) mobile networks.
Customers of Manx Telecom will be able to send and receive full-motion, video and entertainment services as well as gain high-speed access to the Internet, e-mail and mobile commerce
applications via their mobile handset or device.
Initial supply of handsets will include a mobile phone with browser supporting wireless application protocol (WAP) and an
Image Viewer Terminal with a two-inch liquid crystal display (LCD). These will support a range of innovative mobile applications which
will be developed and offered by Manx Telecom. Applications may include:
The automatic downloading of sports highlights into a user's handheld videophone;
The ability to view the latest film trailers and purchase cinema tickets on-line;
Access to e-mail and the Internet via a mobile handset;
The ability to connect remotely at high speed to company local area networks (LANs);
The development of multimedia e-commerce opportunities, including off shore purchasing and off shore banking. Under the joint development, BT will commit substantial research and development expertise from its laboratories - BT Adastral Park, Martlesham.
Steve Andrews, BT director of European alliances and board director of Manx Telecom, said: "The Isle of Man is an ideal location for BT and its partners to demonstrate the real commercial value of third generation mobile applications and technology. It offers a high level of financial services activity, the ability to focus
deployment in a small geography and the commitment of the Isle of Man government to encourage this development.
"By working with NEC and Siemens, Manx Telecom and BT have selected skilled partners who share a common view that the market for mobile Internet and multimedia products and services represents
a massive opportunity for rapid business growth using Europe's first commercial UMTS network."
BT and Manx Telecom will be working with a number of major application and content providers, which will be announced shortly.
Jonathan Harvey, project director for NEC, said: "This exciting opportunity allows us to demonstrate to the marketplace the benefits
and opportunities brought about through the deployment of UMTS communications services. We are delighted to work with Manx Telecom
and BT in this project."
Svante Stenbom, project director for Siemens, said: "The Isle of Man project with BT and Manx Telecom will prove that UMTS technology
will succeed in developing itself into one of the most desired telecommunications technologies around - a very exciting moment for