T-Mobile Teams Up With Google for Instant Mobile

Deutsche Telekom's mobile arm T-Mobile will use Web search leader Google as the starting point for its clients who surf the Internet on their mobile phones, T-Mobile said on Wednesday.

The Google deal is part of a campaign in which T-Mobile, Europe's second-largest mobile operator, will offer full access to the Internet on its phones, abandoning the "walled garden" concept in which operators hand-pick Web sites.

"With the Google homepage we want tell our customers from the first moment that they are carrying with them the Internet they know from home," said T-Mobile board member Ulli Gritzuhn at a news conference in T-Mobile's Bonn headquarters.

The moves follow the years-long failure by mobile operators to convince subscribers to use their mobile phones for more than phone calls and text messages. With falling call prices, they need their clients to use their phones for more.

Many customers have shunned mobile Internet services such as T-Mobile's old "t-zones" or market leader Vodafone's "Live!," often finding them complicated and expensive.

As part of the Internet campaign, dubbed "web'n'walk," T-Mobile will also launch mobile devices with larger displays, better suited to the Web, and will offer cheaper tarriffs to encourage Internet usage, Gritzuhn said.

Web'n'walk will launch in July in Germany and Austria, and later this year in Britain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Gritzuhn said T-Mobile expected a high six-digit number of subscribers to use web'n'walk by the end of 2006, and aimed to generate additional revenue of 10 euros per user per month through the offering.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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