ATLANTA, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Cingular Wireless today announced a significant upgrade to its MEdia Net service that dramatically simplifies the way more than 30 million of its customers access the wireless Internet on their mobile phones. The enhanced MEdia Net provides customers with the quickest access to favorite online content, and is the first wireless Internet service to offer breakthrough levels of personalization. Cingular's more than 30 million customers with data-capable handsets will be automatically migrated to the new MEdia Net over the next several weeks.
"Our customers have already shown a desire to personalize their phones with ringtones, games and graphics," said Ralph de la Vega, Chief Operating Officer for Cingular Wireless. "We are giving them the tools to take personalization an unprecedented step further and attain the quickest access to news, information and entertainment in the industry. The result is a service that completely changes the way consumers engage with the wireless Internet."
The new MEdia Net dramatically reduces the number of clicks it takes to retrieve online information on consumers' wireless phones. Now, with just one or two clicks on the phone's keypad, customers can gain access to news and entertainment headlines, sports scores, financial quotes, local weather, and more. Cingular's introduction of a personalized "phone page" enables users to add and remove whatever content they wish to see. Cingular has worked closely with leading content providers, including CNN for news, ESPN for sports, E! Online for entertainment, The Weather Channel for weather, and Univision for Spanish-language content.
To make it even easier for Cingular's customers, the company has taken the first step by linking localized content to the customer's billing zip code. Therefore, when customers access the new MEdia Net, they will see their local weather, sports team scores, movie theatre listings and more on their first visit -- all tied to their zip code. MEdia Net then provides customers the control to move beyond these initial settings to further personalize their experience right from their phone.
Consumer research and insight helped guide Cingular's design and technology changes. According to de la Vega, the company talked with hundreds of consumers at five different check points throughout the design process and spent thousands of hours improving the experience.
"We took our customers' biggest frustrations with the current wireless Internet experience -- that it's too slow, too hard to use, and not relevant to them -- as the key input toward the new design," said de la Vega. "We checked back with our customers frequently throughout the design process to see how we were doing and kept making improvements."
Industry analysts agree that Cingular has simplified and transformed the wireless Internet experience for consumers.
"While the wireless Internet has been available to consumers for years, until now it has not been as easy as it should be for consumers to use," said Roger Entner, Vice President, Wireless Telecom, Ovum. "Consumers view their wireless phones as an indispensable resource, and MEdia Net enhances the ease and speed at which those devices can now be used to access information on-the- go. This is good for consumers and for Cingular."
InfoSpace Inc. (NASDAQ: INSP), a long-time Cingular partner and leading provider of mobile content and search on mobile devices and the Web, is powering the new MEdia Net.
MEdia Net Live Ticker
Taking MEdia Net's convenience and simplicity one step further, Cingular also has introduced MEdia Net Live Ticker. For the first time in the industry, MEdia Net Live Ticker delivers pre-selected content, such as breaking news, weather and sports information, directly to consumers' phone displays without the need to touch a single button or incur any charge for accessing the initial information.
MEdia Net Live Ticker provides zero-click access to specific personalized headlines and content. Information rolling across the "ticker" at the bottom of the phone display is updated automatically several times daily to keep consumers current with their favorite news, weather, sports and entertainment content; all without pressing a button. MEdia Net Live Ticker updates in the background when the phone is idle and does not disrupt the phone's normal usage.
With MEdia Net Live Ticker, consumers will receive "bites" of headline- style information that appear on their phone's display. The customer can then delve one-level deeper and "snack" on a brief synopsis of the information. If the customer then decides to "feast" on additional information beyond what has been provided, they can use MEdia Net to access the wireless Internet and retrieve the full story. Charges are only incurred if the customer chooses to open the MEdia Net session to get the full story. MEdia Net Live Ticker is launching on the Motorola V557 for the holidays, with more handsets featuring this service to come in the new year.
Media Net Pricing
MEdia Net services can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis ($0.01 per KB), or included in a MEdia Net or MEdia Bundle package. These packages range in price from $4.99 for 1MB of data usage to $19.99 for unlimited data usage.