Europe’s fifth-largest wireless operator mmO2 [L: OOM] has revealed that it is making steady progress in expanding its high revenue data services customer base and has given the first update on O2 Active, its much-hyped rival to Vodafone Live!. The UK-based group, which also operates in Germany and Ireland, released a two-month business update stating that active users of its multimedia messaging services (MMS) almost doubled in the two months to the end of May, to a total 180,000. Similarly, it reported that the take-up of downloadable Java games was booming; having sold more than half a million to date, 220,000 of which were purchased in the two month period. Additionally, sales of the cellco’s large screen xda phone and personal assistant handset rose to 64,000, whilst the company now boasts 27,000 users of its Blackberry mobile email product; both helping to boost the user base of mmO2’s GPRS data services from 120,000 to 643,000 over the two months. The operator is looking to continue its strong growth with the launch of a new xda handset – the imaginatively titled xda II – due before the end of the year, with an updated spec and integrated camera.
mmO2 used the announcement to give its first official update on the progress of its multimedia content service Active, which was launched on 2 June and has been heavily promoted in the UK via the cellco’s sponsorship of notorious reality TV show Big Brother 4. Active, which offers ringtones, MMS, games, music, video and information services, had signed up 60,000 users in its first month of operation, making it a credible rival to Vodafone Live!, which has built up a European user base of more than one million following its launch last October.
Non-voice services now account for around 19% of mmO2’s revenues, a figure which it expects to increase to 25% with the launch of its third-generation (3G) mobile network in late-2004. Rather than rushing to launch 3G head-to-head with the likes of 3 in the UK, mmO2 is hoping that its MMS and GPRS services will incrementally increase demand for next-generation services, as it waits for the technology to develop and glitches with software to be ironed out. However, this year will see the launch of commercial wireless LAN services in the UK, Ireland and Germany, accessible from as many as 1,000 sites.