The GSM Association - the world's leading wireless industry body - today announced the creation of the Mobile Services Initiative (M-Services), an unprecedented global industry move to enhance benefits to consumers using GSM handsets by delivering a globally available set of services through the mobile Internet.
The Association has acted to mobilise the wireless industry, bringing together its operator community to provide clear guidance to handset manufacturers and software developers on the needs of consumers of Mobile Internet services going forward.
"The wireless industry has established a clear need for M-Services, and working with leading manufacturers of handsets and service platforms, the Association has compiled a set of prioritised, compelling service guidelines - on a freely available basis - that can be offered in the future by any manufacturer of GPRS handsets," said GSM Association Chair, Scott Fox.
"The M-Services initiative was undertaken by the GSM Association to enable GPRS users to experience a new level of consistently available services through the Mobile Internet," said GSM Association CEO Rob Conway. "These services could include enhanced graphics, music, video, games, ring tones, screen savers* and other compelling services, which will be brought easily to the mobile screens of consumers."
The Association's initiative received ringing endorsements from all sectors of the wireless industry:
"Openwave is proud to join with the GSM Association and the industry to fully support the Association's Mobile Services Initiative. This landmark initiative is a major step towards delivering compelling, universally available services to consumers worldwide", says Openwave's CEO, Don Listwin. "To underscore our belief in this initiative, we have made key intellectual property available on a royalty free basis for use by any Mobile Services Initiative participant. M-Services is a big step forward in making the Mobile Internet work, for consumers, service providers, and the entire Mobile Internet ecosystem." | Flash Demo |
Manufacturers such as Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Sagem, Samsung and Siemens have quickly come out in support of the M-Services initiative.
"Capitalising on widely adopted standards such as SMS and EMS, M-Services is a major milestone helping operators bring truly compelling services to end-users," says Jacques Combet, President of Alcatel's Mobile Phone Division.
"Ericsson supports the M-Services initiative as an important vehicle to ensure volume use of Mobile Internet in a standardised and non-proprietary way. M-Services will leverage other key standardisation efforts like WAP, EMS, MMS and SyncML to bring a consistent user experience for digital content." says Jan Wareby, CEO, Ericsson Consumer Division.
"M-Services will demonstrate the power of GPRS by delivering an enriched mobile experience to consumers, and it should go a long way towards accelerating the adoption of wireless data," says Mike Zafirovski, President of Motorola's Personal Communications Sector. "The development of open standards is essential to the interoperability between services and devices."
"We welcome this initiative that shares elements with Nokia's vision of both the evolution of Mobile Internet and multimedia messaging," says Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Nokia Mobile Phones, Europe & Africa. "We look forward to contributing to the development of the initiative based in parts on open, non-proprietary solutions. Ensuring seamless interoperability between evolving and legacy services and devices is a prerequisite for true mass market success."
"We strongly support this initiative to provide an open standard for future Mobile Internet applications," said Peter Zapf, President, Mobile Phones, Siemens Information & Communication Mobile Group. "Mobile services, in the entertainment and business world, are key to our GPRS product offering and this initiative will mean consumers will see a new level of highly attractive Mobile Internet services."
"Short Message Service (SMS) has shown the immense value of offering a universally available service to mobile users," added GSM Association CEO Rob Conway. "Already running at a level of 18 billion messages a month**, we expect consumers to send over 200 billion text messages in total across GSM networks globally this year".
"The GSM Association, in recognizing the value of universally available key services, moved quickly to identify and offer to handset manufacturers the ability to enable these services through their GPRS handsets," added Conway. "We now trust that the manufacturers will do all they can to implement M-Services into their handset product offerings in a prioritised, quality way."
"We do appreciate the commitment of the Association in undertaking this industry leading initiative to further enhance consumer attraction to and experience of the Mobile Internet," says Mauro Sentinelli, Managing Director, Telecom Italia Mobile, a leading catalyst for and proponent of the M-Services initiative.
France Telecom Mobiles also recognised the GSM Association's timely, industry-leading efforts in bringing out these services. "France Telecom Mobiles views M-Services as very positive and timely in enhancing the consumer's experience in connection with newly available GPRS services," said Benoat Eymard, VP, Operations and Development."
"Telefonica Moviles believes that the M-Services initiative will enable the entire GSM/GPRS mobile industry to demonstrate the enormous potential of this technology to the world," said Miguel Menchen, General Manager of Services and Platforms for Telefonica Moviles. "We encourage all GSM/GPRS operators to support M-Services and thereby create a consistent basis on which to build our service offer for clients. In doing so, we as operators will obtain handsets with the most advanced functionalities for our consumers as quickly as possible."
Georges Passet, Chief Technical Officer of Bouygues Telecom added that he was: "pleased that the Association was taking such a progressive step with key players of the wireless industry to seek mass market availability of M-Services."
"In effect M-Services will take us into the 3rd dimension (voice, data and services) before 3G arrives," said Mike Short, Vice President, Industry Relations & Standards, BT Wireless. "As a part of BT Wireless, Genie is already offering consumers a wide variety of compelling services. The M-Services initiative will leverage and enhance these service offerings in our current environment and take us through to GPRS and 3G." Short also noted that: "M-Services builds on the good work of the standards bodies."
"M-Services is another good initiative by the GSM Association and we strongly support its objective," says Neil Montefiore, Chief Executive Officer of M1, a leading mobile operator in Singapore. "M1 is already offering many of these services and they are hugely popular with our customers. With standardised features enabling these services to be made available across a wide range of handsets, more of our customers will be able to enjoy an enhanced mobile and Mobile Internet experience," he adds.
"M-Services will bring our customers a new user-experience that makes services easy to use, entertaining and convenient," says Friedrich Joussen Director of Vodafone Global Product Management. "The SMS success story points up the value of making such services universally available."
Peter Trott, Head of New Product Development for One2One, said: "GPRS signals the true arrival of the Mobile Internet. This initiative will help us all to positively and consistently position this evolution as a real benefit to customers rather than some over-hyped technology that will fail to live up to expectations."
Jim Pratt, Deputy Chair of the GSM Association and Managing Director for Telstra Corporation's wireless operations fully agrees. "Telstra sees M-Services as setting operator requirements. The introduction of M-Services will be a significant boost to the attraction of GPRS, taking the focus off just speed and on to the compelling nature of services and content - the real drivers of the mobile Internet."