Is today the start of the Mobile Web.

It seems rumours of 3’s demise yesterday were greatly exaggerated because today in Battersea saw the global launch of the X-Series from 3. Although 3 have been struggling until now to gain a [significant] share of the UK mobile market, this new mobile broadband service just might make a big difference for them.

For a longtime now I have likened my experience of surfing the web from my mobile, to the same feelings of despair and frustration I used to have while waiting for web pages to download on to my old ‘dial-up’ PC. Well if X-Series lives up to the hype and actually brings the broadband experience to mobiles, I will certainly be very interested and might even consider switching depending on the price, the true access speed, the availability range and the wider support for more mobile devices. i.e my JasJar from HTC.

Web 'n' walk logoFor far too long mobile phone companies have ripped us all off with their call charges and even more extortionate data charges. For example a recent business trip to France resulted in my T-Mobile monthly bill being £400+, simply because I was on the wrong plan but no one chose to tell me I was over paying, so downloading emails and surfing the web cost me £1 per megabyte! I have since moved to T-Mobile’s Web’n’Walk which until today seemed a more reasonable solution at £7.50 for unlimited internet access.

As 3 say on their website “Why should you pay per minute, per message, per click, per megabit? In the real world, you buy your PC, pay for broadband and that’s it. Our principle is simple – X-Series customers will only pay a flat access fee on top of their basic subscription and then what’s free to use on the internet should be free to use on mobile broadband”.

phone2.gifAlong with the announcement of the new X-Series, 3 also announced a number of interesting partnerships, including one with Sling Media to give customers access to their home TV channels on their mobile handsets.

“Working together with 3 has enabled us to push the boundaries of TV viewing further than ever before. 3 understands the power of mobile broadband to deliver compelling, value add applications and services like a truly personalized mobile TV experience and we are thrilled to be working with them,” said Blake Krikorian, co-founder and CEO of Sling Media.

The X-Series from 3 will be available in the UK from the 1st December 2006 and in 3’s other markets around the world in early 2007.

To view the webcast follow this link.

This announcement from 3 coincided very nicely with a W3C Mobile Web Seminar in Paris which was discussing the new Mobile Web Initiatives and Mobile Web Best Practices.

So is this the start of the mobile web, only time will tell but the indications are looking good both from an access and standardised developer platform perspective? Hopefully this will force the arm of O2, Vodafone and Orange (all of them have a broadband element) to follow suit.

The other major winners from 3’s announcement will certainly be Skype (which is included on the new phones as standard) because people will be able to make VoIP calls instead of GSM calls and secondly the other winners should be the mobile advertisers who can now properly amortise the platform with rich interactive adverts.