Cellnet Internet service to link e-mail and phone

CELLNET, the mobile phone operator, yesterday jumped on the Internet bandwagon by launching a free Internet service which will also allow customers to receive messages on their mobile phones.

Cellnet will launch the Internet service next month, to be called Genie Internet, which will mimic existing offerings such as Dixons' Freeserve by not charging a monthly subscription fee.

The service will initially be targeted at young customers of its "U" pay-as-you-go service, but will shortly be extended to all other users, who will be sent a CD-Rom containing the required software.

Customers who sign up to the service will receive an email address and access to a web site offering a range of news and information. They will also be able to set up a messaging system, which sends brief text messages to their mobile phones alerting them to news flashes, sports scores, or the arrival of a new email.

The move is a precursor to the arrival, probably later this year, of mobile terminals that will allow users to access the Internet over a mobile phone network.

"We clearly see the markets of data and mobile coming together and we want to be first,'' said Peter Erskine, Cellnet's managing director.

The move is also designed to discourage customers from defecting to other networks following the introduction last month of number portability in the mobile phone market.

At the moment, mobile phone networks are too slow to be able to send or receive large volumes of data. However, Cellnet is planning to upgrade its network with new software next year, which will allow data to be transferred at the same speed as the fastest fixed-line modem.

The introduction of the third generation of mobile phone networks in three to four years' time is expected to make mobile Internet access and electronic commerce widespread.

Cellnet is currently in talks with Microsoft, which recently formed a strategic alliance with Cellnet's majority shareholder British Telecom, and Symbian, the joint venture between Psion and the world's leading mobile phone manufacturer, about what form the new Internet-enabled handsets will take.

The Genie website has been up and running for 18 months, but has only attracted 100,000 users from its customer base of 3.5m.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before