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Swisscom launches UMTS supporting video telephony and mobile tv
Posted: 25-Nov-2004 [Source: Swisscom]

[Swisscom launches Vodafone live! UMTS service and first UMTS-enabled handsets, the Sony Ericsson V800 and the Motorola V980. ]

Starting now, Swisscom Mobile customers will be able to look their calling partner in the eye or quickly check the TV headlines while on the move. UMTS is the new mobile communications standard -- the so-called third generation of mobile communications. Supporting speeds of up to 384 Kbit/s, it provides the technical platform for broadband services such as video telephony and live TV. Thanks to UMTS, surfing via Vodafone live! will be even faster. By rolling out UMTS for residential customers, Swisscom Mobile is consistently pushing ahead with its broadband strategy. Initially, Swisscom Mobile will offer two Vodafone live! mobiles capable of using the new services: the Sony Ericsson V800 and the Motorola V980. Vodafone live!, the multimedia world for mobile phones, was launched in November 2003. Since then, the service has attracted some 400,000 NATEL(R) customers.

Hearing and seeing

Video telephony allows callers to communicate with each other visually as well as by voice. For this to function, both the caller and the called party must have a mobile that supports video telephony. Both must also be in a region where UMTS is supported. Up to the end of January, 2005, the cost of one minute of videotelephony will be the same as the current cost of a call per minute. In other words, the introductory price depends on the customer's NATEL subscription. The videotelephony rates which will become valid after the end of January, 2005, will be announced by Swisscom Mobile in good time.

In addition to this introductory promotion, Swisscom Mobile is offering UMTS customers who telephone frequently and are interested in videotelephony an attractively-priced video option supplementary to their NATEL subscription. There is one video option for each type of NATEL subscription. For example, NATEL Swiss customers can select the Video Option 120. This costs CHF 45 a month and includes 120 minutes, which can be used for video calls as well as normal voice calls.

Live TV and 3D games

UMTS mobiles benefit from an extended Vodafone live! portal with additional functions. Now, users can receive TV programmes live and in impressive quality on their mobile phones. Currently, this service covers the following channels: SF DRS 1 and 2, TSR 1 and 2, TSI 1 and 2, SF Info, Eurosport, TF1 and MTV. Live TV customers purchase the right to access all channels within a defined period. The following periods may be selected: 30 minutes for CHF 4, two hours for CHF 8, or a day for CHF 12. Within the defined period, users can channel-hop as much as they like. Also, the Vodafone live! portal now offers attractive video clips up to five minutes in length. In addition, NATEL(r) subscribers have the possibility to watch video clips directly (streaming).

As of now, customers with UMTS-enabled mobile phones and Vodafone live! can access 3D games such as "Ferrari Experience" and "Beach Minigolf". Then there is the brand-new "Movie of the month" service, with images, trailers, ringtones and video clips related to new films. The material currently available is all about "Bridget Jones Part 2" and "The Incredibles". With the exception of video clip streaming, "Movie of the month" can also be used with non-UMTS mobile phones.

Videos recorded using the mobile phone can now be sent via MMS to any device. A sent video MMS is automatically adapted to the technical capabilities of the receiving device. The size of MMS messages will be increased from 100 to 300 KB. Sending and receiving video MMS messages costs the same as MMS messages up to 100 KB, i.e. CHF 0.90 for NATEL(r) easy youth and easy kid and all subscription types. For NATEL(r) easy the cost is CHF 1.20. These introductory prices are valid until 31 March, 2005. The rates to be charged thereafter will be announced by Swisscom Mobile in good time.

Video MMS messages up to 100 KB can also be sent to customers of other Swiss network providers. MMS messages larger than 100 KB are not currently supported by other Swiss network providers.

Almost 90% UMTS coverage by the beginning of December

UMTS operates on a completely new network that is being built in parallel with the existing GSM network. This new technology enables faster data transmission. Swisscom Mobile's UMTS network is continually being expanded. By 1 December, 2004, it will already cover 89.74% of the populated area of Switzerland. In regions which do not yet have a UMTS network, UMTS-enabled devices automatically switch to the GSM network.

Thanks to UMTS roaming, Swisscom Mobile customers can also use the new services when abroad. Currently, UMTS roaming is available in the following countries: Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. By the end of 2004, UMTS roaming agreements will be in operation in ten countries.

Kick-off with two UMTS mobile models

To start with, Swisscom Mobile is offering two new UMTS-enabled Vodafone live! mobile phones: the Sony Ericsson V800 makes videophone calling ultra-easy, you simply press the videotelephony key. The Motorola V980 has two built-in cameras: one in the foldout lid, for taking photographs, and the other integrated in the device, for video telephony. The Sony Ericsson V800 costs CHF 499 and the Motorola V980 CHF 199 (each with a 24-month NATEL swiss subscription). Both mobiles are available now in all Swisscom Shops and from specialist outlets.

A third UMTS mobile, the Sharp V902SH, will be available exclusively from Swisscom Mobile from mid-January 2005.

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