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October 23, 2007
1:10 PM -- Social networking sensation Bebo is now mobile. Orange UK finally launched the mobile Bebo service this week after it was expected back in the summer. And Bebo is now ready to roll the mobile service out with other mobile operators. (See Bebo's Hot to Trot in Mobile, Orange, Bebo Team Up, Bebo Turns Orange, and Orange Launches Bebo Mobile.)
Orange customers can sign up to Bebo Extra for £3 ($6) per month and that gives Bebo-ers unlimited access to the Bebo WAP site and SMS alerts when they receive comments on their Bebo profile or when friends update their "sayings." Bebo members can also post comments or blogs onto the WAP site. In addition, with the Bebo Extra package, Bebo members get a "friend tariff" so that they can call or text each other for tuppence per minute or tuppence per text.
The only thing Bebo members can't do on the go is upload videos onto the WAP site, because of "technical limitations," according to Ziv Navoth, Bebo's VP of marketing and business development. In other words, the Bebo demographic is young people aged 13 to 24, and they don't typically own phones that would quickly send videos.
There are 10.7 million unique Bebo users in the U.K.and "a lot of them" are Orange customers, says Navoth, but he wouldn't give an exact number.
Bebo's monthly charge for the mobile service is twice as expensive as the monthly fee for Vodafone UK 's MySpace offering, which costs £1.50 ($3) per month. However, Vodafone's MySpace users are also charged for their data usage on top of the monthly fee, while Bebo'ers are not. Bebo members pay £3 ($6) per month and that's it. (See Vodafone Takes MySpace Mobile, Vodafone, MySpace Partner, and Eccosphere Creeps Into Social Network Scene.)
Navoth explains, "You get a lot more value for [the Bebo price]. We're making the mobile experience as seamless as possible from the Internet experience."
— Michelle Donegan, Too-Old-To-Bebo Editor, Unstrung
Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry for the last 20 years on both sides of the Pond. Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and, most recently, Light Reading.
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