The Austrian branch of Hutchison(called 3, logo below) has provided me with data services for my Nokia N71 and my laptop ever since TamsS60 was founded…and has served me reliably in Sweden and England at no extra cost(!!!) due to their 3 like home service.
Anyways, good luck and ill fortune had me bump into Christian Haspl, commercial manager for the above mentioned company. He gladly answered a few questions on platforms, application sales, virii and 3G network operation:
Dear Mr. Haspl, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m the commercial development manager for Hutchison Austria – we run the a 3g-only network called 3 since 2003. By the end of the year 2008, we plan to provide 3G coverage to 90% of the Austrian population!
How much coverage do you have in Austria as of now? How do you implement 2.5G support, and why can’t 2.5G devices be used on 3?
We have built up our own 3G network in Austria covering 50% of the population. Additionally, we have a national roaming agreement with one of the leading providers in Austria. Our partner provides the 2.5G coverage, and reaches approx 98% of the population.
Which platforms do you offer on your devices?
If I understand you correctly, platforms means operating systems. We mainly do Series 60 3ed – and additionally offer Windows Mobile via Palm’s Treo 750 and a variety of phones with J2ME support for mobile gaming!
Which platforms do you sell the most?
If open platforms are concerned, Series 60 3ed definitely takes the lead. However, if all phones are concerned, proprietary platforms offering J2ME definitely take the lead.
Proprietary platforms have recently lost market share to open systems. Do you think that this trend will continue, or will proprietary RTOS’s still be around in a few years?
We have recently seen Series 60 on cheaper devices like Nokia’s 6120. However, I think that RTOS’s will be along for a very long time – at least in low-end handsets. They are much cheaper to implement and maintain. I predict that there will still be a nice percentage of devices running custom IOS’s in the low and mid-end segment in 5 years.
Coming back to open operating systems, which operating systems will dominate the market in a few years of time?
When businesses are concerned, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6 is in an excellent position due to its excellent Outlook compatibility. Series 60 also is very strong.
Linux has not materialized in Europe so far, Qualcomm’s Brew probably won’t dominate the European market either.
However, none of these operating systems will disappear completely. There are hundreds of device manufacturers…and each one bets on a different horse.
Garmin had huge issues with users installing ‘crap’ onto their devices. How does the situation look at your end?
The device manufacturer mostly handles support for us. However, we try to guide the customer in terms of what to install and what to avoid. In case of an app-induced borkup, we recommend customers to hard-reset their phones and reinstall needed applications.
How does 3 handle virii targetting mobile devices? Do you consider them a big issue?
For us, virii have not been as big an issue as they have been for others. However, we block the MMS forwarding of .sis files in order to prevent virii from spreading on our network.
Additionally, we offer links to various mobile AV solutions. This ensures that affected users can at least download a trial version to desinfect the phone…and decide about keeping the program later.
Do you feel that they are a significant threat?
No. I can recall 3 cases in the last 2 years…we recommend the same steps as outlined above for faulty applications…
Last but not least, does 3 act as an ESD itself? Do you sell applications developed by third parties?
We currently focus on mobile games in Austria. However, we work on expanding the portfolio to applications in more mature markets like Australia. This will eventually come to Austria too…I am thinking of approximately 2 years here…