Hutchison Telecoms today launched 3 - Australia's first, live, person-to-person mobile, video calling and information, communication and entertainment service. 3 brings the personal and practical benefits of live, mobile video calling to life at prices which are affordable to mobile phone consumers across the board.
Only on 3, can you call your sister in Melbourne, your best friend in London or your Nonna in Milan and laugh, cry or chat face to face with them on 3.
Under Hutchison's innovative pricing plan, customers can make a mobile video call for around the same price some people pay for a mobile voice call on other networks and benefit from considerable savings on standard voice, data and a range of multimedia services.
The launch of 3 featured Australia's first official mobile video call made between Sydney and Melbourne by NSW Premier Bob Carr and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks with Hutchison Telecoms CEO, Kevin Russell. Mr Russell said Australian users are set to benefit from a whole new range of mobile communication services.
"3 is a suite of new services in the Australian mobile marketplace. What we're offering has not been seen here before, but it will become a part of everyday life. And I believe sooner than people expect," said Russell.
"We're offering mobile video calling - the first and only in Australia, fresh video news, sport and comedy on demand, mobile video messaging complete with visuals and sound, the ability to have your emails read out to you on the move and, of course, we also offer the basics - voice, SMS, picture messaging and games," Russell said.
In addition, 3's information services include being able to download news clips, sport, comedy, movie previews, games and ring tones.
From today, 3 customers can video call other 3 customers in Sydney and Melbourne, and in the UK and Italy. This will progressively expand to Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in Australia, and overseas to Hong Kong and Sweden in the coming months.
3 combines all of a customer's key business and communication tools in one handset: their phone, messages, contacts, email, video, camera and modem.
"3 is a powerful business tool. I have saved time by being able to respond to emails on the move.
"And I have kept up with the war in Iraq more on 3 than any other news source. A similar experience for Australia's recent World Cup cricket triumph where I was catching up with the results and key highlights first thing in the morning for many of the games," he said.
3's voice, SMS and picture messaging can be used throughout Australia via 3 and its roaming partner, Vodafone. International coverage is consistent with what customers experience with GSM today.
"We are fortunate we can leverage the global resources of the Hutchison Whampoa group to bring new services to market faster than our competitors - services that have only just become available in Europe through our sister companies," Russell said.
W3 puts Australia at the forefront of mobile communications globally. Hutchison has the financial backing and marketing clout to ensure Australians on 3 will continue to benefit from new services in the longer term," he said.
Using a purpose-built 3G network, Hutchison can deliver services unavailable in second-generation networks and can process data at faster speeds. For example, a 30 second video clip usually takes less than 15 seconds to download.
Backed by content providers such as AAP, Reuters, The Comedy Channel, Channel 9 and HWW, 3 customers will have access to some of Australia's best news and entertainment.
19 Stores to Sell Motorola and NEC Handsets from today
New 3 Shops opened in 19 locations in Melbourne and Sydney today. By the end of the year, more than 70 stores will be open, including sites in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. 3 will also be available via high profile distributor Strathfield Car Radio from May.
3 launched with two handsets: the Motorola A830 and the NEC e606. The Motorola A830 will cost $480 if paid upfront or $20 per month for 24 months plus $100 connection fee. The NEC e606 will cost $768 upfront or $32 per month for 24 months plus a $100 connection fee.
In the next few weeks, another handset will be added to the range: the NEC e808N. The Motorola A920 will be available in a few months.
Customers buying the Motorola A920 or the NEC e606 or e808N will get free national video calls equal to the monthly instalment price each month for 24 months. Buyers of the Motorola A830 will get $20 per month in free video messages.
NEC e606, e808N and Motorola A920 buyers are further entitled to return their handset after twelve months and receive a $300 upgrade credit to the cost of a brand new 3 Handset.
Clever Pricing to Attract Early Adopters
3's highly competitive pricing plan includes usage caps and incentives that make it cheaper to use than some fixed line and many mobile phone and data services on the market today. And there is no minimum monthly usage commitment required.
"We said we would price 3 to encourage usage. Today we have done more than that. 3 pricing is like nothing you have ever seen in the Australian mobile market," said Russell.
"For individuals and businesses, 3 means greater choice, value and fairness for everything from standard voice to new services such as video calling. Not only have we removed barriers to adoption, we are rewarding early adopters over the longer term," he said.
Customers can expect to pay just 50 cents per 30 seconds to make a mobile video call within Australia and just 85 cents per 30 seconds to the UK and Italy.
"That's the same price as some people pay for mobile voice calls," announced Russell. Add to this the fact that video calls are free up to the value of the monthly pricing plan for your phone, and that's a compelling offer for new users," said Russell.