X-Series – Flat Rate Mobile Internet

3 have heralded a new way of doing business for mobile network operators. Their new X-Series allows users to use Skype, Sling, Orb Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger and Google all for one flat rate fee.
Using one of two handsets, the SE W950i or the Nokia N73, users will be able to make unlimited calls from their mobile using Skype, watch their home television via their mobile using Sling, access their home PC remotely using Orb and have access to the best of internet and messaging services from Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger and Google.

The X-Series from 3 will be priced like fixed line broadband. Customers will be charged flat access fees for X-Series mobile broadband services on top of their basic subscription. The access fees will include all you can Skype, all you can chat by instant text message and all you can search and browse. There will initially be an additional access fee for customers who also take higher-bandwidth services like Sling and Orb. Just like the fixed line internet, all X-Series services will be free at the point of use, subject only to fair usage limits, although the company states that it won’t set the Fair Usage limit at such a point where they’ll scoop up extra revenue by users inevitably going over.

Frank Sixt, Group Finance Director of Hutchison Whampoa, said "We believe that giving our customers the benefit of the favourable economics of the broadband world will lead more customers to join our network. That is the proposition the 3 Group will be putting forward in all of its markets under the X-Series. This is why we created 3, and what our network was designed to deliver. The X-Series heralds important changes in the business model for mobile media and internet. Moving away from unit charges will set mobile users free to enjoy broadband services without fear of ‘bill-shock’."

This charging structure overturns the traditional telephony model of charging per minute, per message, per click, per event and per megabyte. This is made possible by the rapid development of all IP (internet protocol) mobile networks, HSDPA and HSUPA network speed upgrades, peer-to-peer technologies, and a number of efficiency improvements in every aspect of a mobile operator’s business. As a result, the cost of providing broadband internet and media applications in mobility may be expected to continue to decline, as it has in the internet and fixed-line broadband world.

Canning Fok, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Whampoa, said "This is the internet as it was meant to be and what people have been waiting for. Mobile broadband is the natural next step for mobile services, extending the full power of the internet to mobile handsets. By partnering with the leaders of the internet and the leading handset makers, the X-Series from 3 will give everyone access to more of what they want, when they want it, and however much of it they want, all free when they use it."