By Matthew Wade
Subscribers in Jordan are the latest mobile phone users in the region to be offered new mobile phone entertainment and messaging services, as a result of wireless application service provider Info2cell.com teaming up with Jordan’s GSM service operator, Fastlink, to launch three new products.
Subscribers in Jordan are the latest mobile phone users in the region to be offered new mobile entertainment and phone messaging services, as a result of wireless application service provider Info2cell.com teaming up with Jordan’s GSM service operator, Fastlink, to launch three new products.
Fastlink subscribers in the country now have the chance to access a new MMS (multi-media messaging service) greeting card service, download polyphonic ring tones, and play java games.
"We have seen a growing trend among Middle East consumers in using the mobile phone for a variety of communication needs, from conducting business meetings to sending greeting messages," said Bashar Dahabra, founder and CEO, Info2cell.com. "There were more than 23 million mobile phone subscribers in the Arab world at the end of 2002 and the growth rate for the whole year was about 50 per cent."
The firm’s new MMS greeting card service allows Fastlink users to access Arabic and English card libraries through Info2cell’s WAP portal. Chosen cards can then be sent to MMS enabled phones of other Jordanian subscribers as well as MTC-Vodafone subscribers in Kuwait. Fastlink’s java games service meanwhile allows users to play and exchange java games with fellow subscribers.
This Info2cell launch follows the lead of the firm's Italian partner Acotel Group, which after buying Info2cell last year recently hooked up with Fastlink Jordan to supply a Multimedia Message Service Centre (MMSC), WAP Gateway and several MMS applications.
The launch of Fastlink’s new services is the latest in a line of mobile service releases in the region. Last month for instance Kuwaiti mobile operator Wataniya Telecom launched its Arabia Zone content channel ‘Funtec’, which the company claimed received more than 10,000 downloads from subscribers in its first week of operation alone.
Mobile phone penetration in the Middle East is accelerating quickly, according to Dubai-based Madar Research Group, with a growth rate of 9.92% at the end of June 2003 compared to a fixed line increase over the same period of just 3.57%. According to Madar’s study, the UAE has 2.65 million mobile phone subscribers, against 1.11 million fixed line subscribers, for a population of 3.7 million. Bahrain has 400,000 mobile phone subscribers, Kuwait has 1.5 million, and Saudi Arabia has 6 million mobile phone users, against 3.43 million fixed lines, with a population of 23.89 million. Madar Research however claims that some of the less developed Arab countries (such as Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq and Libya) still have more landlines than mobile phones.