Sun rings in mobile data

Sun Microsystems wants to get into content delivery for mobiles. The vendor has teamed up with a new company, Trans Mobile Media (TMM), to provide regional operators with digital content for download to mobiles. The two have developed a ‘software warehouse’, which stores the content, ready for access by mobile users.

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By  Peter Branton Published  May 22, 2005

Sun Microsystems wants to get into content delivery for mobiles. The vendor has teamed up with a new company, Trans Mobile Media (TMM), to provide regional operators with digital content for download to mobiles. The two have developed a ‘software warehouse’, which stores the content, ready for access by mobile users. The aim is to tap into the growing market for providing multimedia content for mobiles, such as ring tones, music, video clips, news and other services. Disney has already been signed up to provide content, as well as other providers. TMM is a newly formed company, based in Dubai, which aims to act as a content ‘clearing house’, providing settlement of royalties between content owners and network operators on licensed content delivered to mobile consumers in the MENA region. “This is a way to cheaply and easily offer access to content,” said Stefan Niemec, business development manager for the telecom 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. The two companies said no operators have yet signed up to the initiative, however Mike Hardman, managing director of TMM said he expected between six and eight regional operators will sign 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 said. 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 estimated. 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 commented. “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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