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IT giants plan future internet devices   2008-10-19 - VNA

Sixteen of the world’s leading IT and mobile phone companies have united behind an initiative led by the GSM Association (GSMA) to create a new category of permanently-online mobile broadband devices.

The technology, named Mobile Broadband, will give consumers the freedom to get online wherever and whenever they want while enabling operators to address a 50 billion USD opportunity in both mature and emerging markets, says the GSMA, a global trade group representing more than 750 GSM mobile operators across 218 countries and territories of the world.

In the first phase of the plan, mobile operators, PC manufacturers and chipset providers will pre-install Mobile Broadband into a range of notebook PCs in 91 countries across the world, the association says.

The 1 billion USD Mobile Broadband service mark is a new global identifier which will help consumers easily identify the array of ‘ready to run’ Mobile Broadband devices.

“Mobile Broadband is like a home or office Broadband connection with one crucial difference: freedom. Freedom from hot spots, freedom from complexity and freedom from security concerns,” says Michael O’Hara chief marketing officer of the GSMA.

“Today, 16 of the world’s largest technology companies have committed to changing the way people get online forever,” he adds.

The service mark is expected to be seen on several hundred thousand notebooks in the shops by the holiday season.

Integrating Mobile Broadband into notebook PCs is the first step in GSMA’s wider strategy to deliver wireless internet access and management to a whole range of previously unconnected devices – from cameras and MP3 players to refrigerators, cars and set-top boxes.

“The Mobile Broadband initiative is a timely one in that it leverages the increasingly widespread availability of high-bandwidth networks in both developed and developing economies,” says director of mobility research at International Data Corp (IDC) Shiv K.Bakhshi.

“While there will always be a place for WiFi connectivity, the great merit of Mobile Broadband might be that it liberates the user from the spatial tyranny of the so-called ‘hotspot’,” Bakhshi adds.

Launch participants include 3 Group, Asus, Dell, ECS, Ericsson, Gemalto, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange, Qualcomm, Telefinica Europe, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone – some of the world’s largest technology brands and operators serving more than 760 million connections.

As many as 55 million people have subscribed to Mobile Broadband services in 91 countries – a number expected to grow by four million per month by the end of 2008, according to Wireless Intelligence.

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