O2 today announced that it will introduce a range of attractive new handsets and an enhanced O2 Active portal over its 3G network. The move builds on O2's leadership in non-voice services and unique O2-branded handsets. 3G services will be available for Pay Monthly ("postpay") customers from 1 February and Pay & Go ("prepay") customers shortly thereafter.
Consumers who purchase 3G devices from O2 will enjoy a wider range of new and original content, including; film from Warner Bros Online (previews, behind the scenes and interviews); lifestyle from titles such as GQ, FHM and Glamour; the latest music videos and tracks from major recording artists and MTV; news from ITN; and sports, including England Rugby and Arsenal Football. They will also benefit from faster download speeds and video calling. The launch also marks the arrival of a new and improved version of the innovative O2 Active portal, which has been re-designed to take advantage of richer, faster, more capable 3G-based features.
To mark the introduction of its 3G service for consumers, O2 is launching the only own-branded 3G handset in the UK market to date - the competitively priced O2 X4.
Based on the highly successful design principles of its existing X-range of handsets, which includes the popular O2 Xda II, the O2 X4TM sports a sleek clamshell design with a high-quality 262,000-colour main screen display. The O2 X4 is equipped with a 1.3 mega pixel camera with an 8x zoom lens and advanced 'flash mechanic'. It also includes an MP3 music player, video downloading and streaming capabilities, 10Mbytes of phone memory and 64Mbytes of additional capacity via a removable memory card.
"Matthew Key, the new CEO of O2 UK, said: "Our 3G launch is the perfect evolution of our successful non-voice services strategy into a world of richer information and entertainment content, faster speeds and new interactive services. With an industry leading 25% of our revenue from non-voice services, we've developed a successful "data" formula that we bring to the 3G world -- compelling devices, great customer experience, ease of use, personalisation and value for money. We believe the service will initially appeal to a core group of pioneering customers, building towards mass market adoption in the latter part of 2005."
Comprehensive Handset Range
In addition to the O2 X4, O2 will offer 3G customers a range of handsets from leading manufacturers, including the Nokia 6630, Samsung Z107, Motorola V975 and the Sony Ericcson V800. This will be expanded going forward through existing handset procurement channels and the NTT DoCoMo Inc., partnership.
The new O2 Active 3G service offers intelligent, personalised and faster access to a wide range of unique and innovative content. A new customisable home page automatically updates to reflect individual and personal preferences.
This includes interactive gaming, music videos and full track music downloads, featured artists and bands, sports highlights and new custom mobile micro-sites from O2's content partners such as Ministry of Sound, Ents 24, Time Out, Emap, and MTV, all of which have been identified as having a strong appeal to O2 target customer groups.
O2 Video Calling
Owners of specific handsets will also be able to make video calls across the O2 and all other UK 3G networks, allowing them to see as well as hear each other.
The new 3G services will be priced at identical rates as existing GPRS (2.5G) tariffs. O2 video calls will be priced the same as voice calls for a promotional period*. Content will continue to be a combination of free, pay per use and subscription based pricing.
O2's 3G services are now available in the key conurbations throughout the UK including over 20 major cities and towns from Aberdeen to Southampton. O2 is continuing to rollout its service and is aiming to achieve 50% coverage by June 2005.