Mrs Mary O’Rourke T.D., Minister for Public Enterprise today (Thursday 9th September), announced the launch of Esat Digifone’s groundbreaking new service - dot digifone-on-line. The service enables Digifone customers to access certain Internet Information on the screen of their mobile phone. Over IR£1.5 million has been invested in this revolutionary new service and Esat Digifone is one of the first mobile operators in the world to bring the Internet over GSM to reality.
Esat Digifone has signed agreements with a number of prestigious partners to provide information through the dot digifone-on-line service, including Aer Lingus, RTE, Business & Finance, Paddy Power Bookmakers, 98FM and Entertainment Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of dot digifone-on-line Minister O’Rourke said
“It’s a great achievement for Ireland that a young indigenous company, such as Esat Digifone, is one of the first mobile operators in the world to make WAP technology available to it’s customers. This is another example of Irish industry taking innovative steps to build Ireland’s reputation as a progressive and enterprising nation in the field of technology.”
Also speaking at the launch Barry Maloney, Chief Executive of Esat Digifone said
“We are one of the first mobile operators world-wide and the first in Ireland to introduce this service to our customers and today’s announcement is part of our continuing commitment to providing leading edge technology. Initially, dot digifone-on-line will enable users to access a range of information, including news, sports, weather, airline information, betting odds, stock prices and entertainment news. The service can be accessed while in Ireland or while travelling abroad allowing our customers to keep up to date with what is going on at home. Within months the service will become fully interactive with on-line e-commerce functionality enabling customers to book flights, cinema tickets, place orders etc.”
The new service is based on WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) technology and is the convergence of two of the world’s leading technologies - mobile telephony and Internet. It has been developed by the mobile industry to enable mobile phone users to access certain Internet information sites directly from their mobile phones.
dot digifone-on-line can be used by any Digifone customer using a WAP enabled handset by selecting the “Internet Services” option on the handset. This connects the customer to the text based dot digifone-on-line homepage, which lists the various information services available. The customer selects the service required and is then linked directly to the appropriate Internet site. The product is currently in friendly user testing with Digifone customers, awaiting commercial launch availability of WAP handsets from the manufacturers. Pricing for the service will be announced with the arrival of the world’s first WAP enabled handset from Nokia in mid-October.
Esat Digifone chose CMG, a leading European IT services group to provide the WAP platform for the dot digifone-on-line service. Using their WAP Service Broker product, Digifone can select the content they feel their subscribers require. The WAP Service Broker enables secure, managed, targeted services and makes these services intuitive to employ and easy to customise. It enables service directories to be created, allows authorised content and Digifone to access the platform and lets their users configure and personalise the services they require. CMG plc is a leading European IT services group, providing business information solutions through consultancy, system development, software applications and managed services. Established in 1964, CMG operates internationally from its bases in the UK, Ireland, the United States of America, Singapore, China, The Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium, implementing and supporting applications for clients around the world.
Esat Digifone continues to be Europe’s fastest growing second mobile phone operator with 367,000 customers on the network at the end of June. The company now holds 23% of Ireland’s pre-paid GSM market and 14% of the total GSM market.