Digital & Direct: Virgin to roll out mobile web portal

Virgin Mobile is to launch a mobile web news and entertainment portal.

The site will replace the Virgin Mobile Bites WAP service ahead of the opening up of Virgin's mobile content services to other networks next year.

The Virgin Media-branded portal, which launches on 8 December, will allow Virgin customers to purchase music tracks for £1.50. It will also offer ringtones, video, games, pictures and animations, news, sports, TV and entertainment editorial content, as well as access to social networking sites.

Virgin Mobile has more than 150 content partners, including Sony BMG, Disney, Hallmark, Universal and EA.

The brand is also in talks with advertisers including broadcasters and car brands through Virgin Media's ad sales house IDS and mobile advertising specialist 4th Screen.

It is understood that Virgin hopes to open the portal to other operators next year, enabling any mobile web user to download its content.

Virgin Mobile's controller of digital services, John Conlon, said that mobile web use would be driven by accessible, cost-effective, tailored content. Only 7% of UK mobile users currently access the web via their phones, according to GfK.

The portal's roll-out coincides with Virgin Mobile's launch of a 30p-a-day rate for mobile web use; most networks charge £1 a day.


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