The new range of services includes mobile instant messaging. Xtra Instant Messenger is similar to the popular computer based instant messaging applications, offering text chats with one or more 'buddies', via WAP.
Other Xtra services for 027 mobile phones include Xtra email, games and the ability to access content such as the latest news, weather and information. In addition, with the right phone, customers will also be able to access picture messaging and downloadable ringtones.
Xtra General Manager Rod Snodgrass says the launch of Xtra Mobile Services on 027 is significant because it gives Kiwis who already use Xtra email and online content a simple and convenient way to access Xtra's most popular services when they're out and about.
"Xtra is New Zealand's leading provider of email and New Zealand's most-popular website. With Xtra Mobile Services now on 027, over half a million Kiwis who have a Xtra email account and the hundreds of thousands who visit our website every week can get the Internet stuff they've told us they want right on their mobile phone," he says.
According to a survey of 027 mobile users carried out in September 2002 by Phoenix Research, email, weather information, picture messaging and downloadable ringtones are the mobile Internet services that appeal most to mobile phone customers.
General Manager of Telecom Mobile Kevin Kenrick says "As good as all these services are however, the breakthrough application of the mobile Internet won't be any single service on its own. The real breakthrough is simplicity meaning customers can use their 027 mobile to get straight to the services that are relevant to them," he says.
With the launch of a more relevant range of mobile Internet services from Xtra, Telecom is replacing services delivered via the Djuice mobile portal. 027 customers who have used a Djuice email address will be offered an upgrade to Xtra email to enable them to enjoy easy access to their email on their 027 mobile.
Xtra offers is now offering its users the following mobile services:
Mobile e-mail: SMS alerts of new incoming e-mails and the ability to send/receive e-mail from a Telecom mobile (+64 27 network only).
Mobile games: A variety of WAP based games (+64 27 network) and SMS based games (+64 25) network
Mobile internet: WAP browser, nothing else.
Instant Messenger: WAP interface to MSN Messenger.
Picture Messaging: send pictures from your mobile to an e-mail address, only available when using Sony Ericsson T60 on CDMA (+64 27).
WebText: registered users can send SMS from a web based interface.
Ringtones: selection of ringtones for mobile (+64 25 and +64 27).
News and information: selection of news via WAP
Info Alerts: subscription to news alerts via SMS (+64 27 and SMS capable +64 25).
Itís a step ahead, but Telecom will still lag a little behind the Vodafone live! service, mainly because of new multimedia capabilities. Last week Vodafone Portugal showed that they were capable of broadcasting a live soccer match (Brazil x Portugal) over their GPRS network. That transmission was only available to users of the new Nokia 7650 mobile phone, but it was a way to show some capabilities available, without requiring 3G networks in place.