The UK's third-generation (3G) mobile market has moved a little closer to reality with the announcement that Hutchison 3G UK has signed up BBC Technology to manage the production of its 3G audio-visual content.
Under the five-year contract, BBC Technology will process and edit content, which will include both entertainment and news, to make it accessible through Hutchison 3G's wireless service due for launch later this year.
"[The BBC] has a world-renowned reputation for production and quality," said Hutchison 3G managing director Colin Tucker. "BBC Technology's understanding of how to work closely with broadcasters to facilitate content delivery was fundamental to our decision to appoint them."
Hutchison 3G's majority shareholder is Hutchison Whampoa, with Japan's NTT DoCoMo and Holland's KPN Mobile holding 20 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
The company also has infrastructure partnerships with Nokia and NEC, while NEC and Motorola are scheduled to supply 3G handsets.
NTT DoCoMo launched the first 3G service last Autumn. Several Japanese handset makers have already released mobile 3G phones.
One of these, Sharp Electronics, is planning to release a handheld PDA similar to its new Zaurus device with the addition of 3G wireless communications. It is due to be released in Japan this summer.
3G promises transmission speeds of up to 2Mbits per second to facilitate applications such as mobile web-surfing, video conferencing and video streaming. Hutchison 3G has the UK 3G mobile phone licence with the largest amount of bandwidth.
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