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Only Easy to Use Web-Phones Will Make Money
Posted: 28-Sep-2000 [Source: Reuters]

[User-friendly phones necessary, say industry leaders, if 3G is to reach wide use.]

by Lucas van Grinsven, London -- "Internet access by mobile phone will only be a success if operators and handset makers make the telephones easier to use, industry specialists said Thursday.

"Peter Erskine, the chief executive of British Telecommunications Plc's (BT.L) wireless unit, told a mobile communications conference here that even he did not know how to store a telephone number in his handset.

"How many features on a phone do we really use?" he asked the audience.

"For mobile telephone operators to reap the fruits of third generation wireless networks, they would need very smart people to make new services fool-proof, Erskine said.

"He was one of many who identified the clumsy nature of data phones, such as the current WAP (wireless access protocol) phones being used in Europe and Asia, as a major hurdle blocking the success of wireless Internet services.

"In a show of hands at the conference, just two of around one hundred WAP phone owners in the audience were happy using their GSM (news - web sites) data phones. Erskine was one of them. GSM is the wireless telephone standard used in Europe and in parts of the United States.

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