Hutchison launches live video calling

Hutchison Telecoms launched a suite of new services in the Australian mobile marketplace on Tuesday and claims its "3" service will fast become a part of everyday life.

Dubbed Australia's first live, person-to-person mobile, video calling and information, communication and entertainment service, Hutchison Telecoms CEO Kevin Russell said Australian users will benefit from a whole new range of mobile communication services.

Hutchison claims that under its "innovative pricing plan", customers can make a mobile video call for around the same price as some mobile voice calls on other networks.

"[3 customers will] benefit from considerable savings on standard voice, data and a range of multimedia services," Hutchision officials said. Russell said customers can expect to pay 50 cents per 30 seconds to make a mobile video call within Australia and 85 cents per 30 seconds to the UK and Italy.

Voice calls cost 15 cents for 30 seconds with a maximum charge of $99 per month after which calls are free, up to 1000 minutes of usage.

To demonstrate its capability, the launch of 3 featured a mobile video call between Sydney and Melbourne made by NSW Premier Bob Carr, Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and Hutchison's Russell.

From Tuesday, 3 customers can video call other 3 customers in Sydney and Melbourne, and in the UK and Italy. This will progressively expand nationally to Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, and overseas to Hong Kong and Sweden in the coming months.

3 combines customer’s key business and communication tools in the one handset including their phone, messages, contacts, e-mail, video, camera and modem, Hutchison officials said.

Using a purpose-built 3G network, Hutchison said it can deliver services unavailable in second-generation networks and can process data at faster speeds.

3 launched with two handsets: the Motorola A830 and the NEC e606 with the NEC e808N to be added soon and the Motorola A920 in a few months.

As well as the launch of the 3 services, Hutchison announced that new 3 Shops opened in 19 locations in Melbourne and Sydney today with more than 70 stores to be opened by the end of the year in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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