RealTime IT News

Terra-Mobile Launches Wireless Portal Today

[Madrid, SPAIN] Terra-Mobile, the mobile Internet child of Terra Networks and Telefsnica Moviles, opened its global Internet portal today offering content to both its own customers and those of rival operators.

Along with mail service and personal agenda, the portal offers various m-commerce functions, financial information, road and traffic information with commuter itineraries, city guides, entertainment, chat, information services and alerts for new, client-specific content.

In addition to customers of Telefsnica's Movistar mobile service, users of rival services like Airtel or Amena (which just hit the 3 million user mark) will be able to access the portal. This is part of the Terra Mobile's stated stragegy to become the world leader in the mobile Internet. The company said it hopes to reach a market of 812 million by 2004.

Terra-Mobile is 51 percent owned by Telefonica Moviles, with the other 49 percent belonging to Terra Networks. Both companies are affiliates of Telefonica, which has been aggressively pursuing UMTS licenses in third-generation mobile auctions across Europe. The portal offers Terra content, readapted for mobile phone screens.

The endeavor has been made possible by the recent purchase of the Finnish mobile technology developer iobox, which Terra-Mobile purchased outright in July for 230 million euros.

Terra-Mobile CEO Eliseo Sanchez told Noticias Intercom that the iobox acquisition was the most expensive part of the new mobile project, and that since the company is partly owned by Terra, there will no need to invest in new content.

Telefonica Moviles represents the Telefonica Group's mobile phone interests, with nearly 24 million customers in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Puerto Rico. Terra Networks is the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world's largest Internet content and service provider, with 2.6 million ISP subscribers and close to 90 million site hits per month. In May it announced the purchase of Lycos to create Terra Lycos.

Iobox started in Helsinki in 1999 and currently has a million users in Finland, the U.K., Sweden and Germany and expects to operate soon in France, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands. The company already has roughly 120 employees in 12 countries.