Mobile content warehouse created in Dubai

Operators will be charged an annual fee for membership and this will cost at a minimum, US$120, 000, which is a fraction of what an operator would pay in capital expenditure for developing its own delivery platform.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  May 15, 2005

A ‘Content Conference’ is to be held on May 16, at which Sun Microsystems together with Trans Mobile Media (TMM) and Disney will showcase the content available from a new digital storage facility that will offer regional operators access to mobile content. Sun Microsystems and marketing company TMM have developed a ‘software warehouse’ where digital content is stored for access by mobile phone users, and can be subscribed to by independent mobile operators. “This is a way to cheaply and easily offer access to content,” comments Stefan Niemec, business development manager for the telecoms sector for Sun Microsystems MENA. The content warehouse is based in Dubai and each mobile operator that signs up to the service will have the ability to choose the content it wants to add to its own data portal. No operators have signed up to the initiative yet, though Mike Hardman, MD of TMM envisages between six and eight regional operators signing up within the first year of the service offer. “Operators will be charged an annual fee for membership and this will cost at a minimum, US$120, 000, which is a fraction of what an operator would pay in capital expenditure for developing its own delivery platform,” Hardman says. Once an operator has paid the annual membership fee, a utility-based billing system comes into play, through which operators are charged by the amount of content their subscribers consume, rather than on a set fee. “If between 31,000 and 47,000 subscribers participated in the service, this would cover an individual operator’s investment in the service,” Hardman estimates. Content that will be available at the time of the launch of the service includes Disney content (ring tones, and still and moving images) and business news from AMEInfo. “We are legitimising and legalising content that has often been accessed in a less than legal environment. We are offering content that is legal at the same price that content is being accessed illegally,” Hardman says. Content can be accessed through mobile devices that are equipped with GPRS functionality at a minimum. Should this content model prove successful; Sun and TMM are looking to export the concept to other parts of the world including North America and Europe. “This is a business model that has come up in the Middle East and has been learnt from experiences in Europe,” Sun’s Niemec comments. “This is an ASP (applications service provider) model that allows operators to offer services quickly and easily, he adds. In the first instance, this initiative will be targeting over 40 operators in the Middle East and North Africa region, which together service more than 70 million mobile handset users.

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