Get Ready For Amp'd Mobile Cell Services
NEW ORLEANS -- Amp'd Mobile announced its entry into the wireless phone arena today at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association's Wireless 2005 show. This fall, the new company will offer 3G cell phones and services aimed at the youth market that should include video on demand and live music.
Amp'd has signed an agreement with Verizon Wireless to use Verizon's Evolution Data Optimized (EvDO) network in order to provide broadband-quality content on mobile phones. This codevelopment marks the first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using EvDO. An MVNO essentially means Amp'd is leasing part of Verizon's network to provide wireless service to its customers. Competing youth-oriented MVNO's include Boost Mobile, which uses Nextel's network, and Virgin Mobile, which uses Sprint PCS.
Because Verizon's EvDO network is available in select U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., Amp'd phones will be offered in those locations only. But Verizon does plan to expand its EvDO service to other cities this year.
New Services Possible
With EvDO, Amp'd promises to provide a new breed of data services that appeal to 16- to 35-year-old users, said founder and CEO Peter Adderton. For example, the company will deliver video on demand and live event coverage that allow users to watch snippets of, say, the MTV Music Awards on their cell phone as it is happening.
To make this work, Amp'd Mobile will station trucks outfitted with broadcasting accoutrements at live events. And like many wireless carriers today, Amp'd will also offer a variety of exclusive and repackaged content, from customized ring tones to high-impact games to recorded segments of, say, Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show with comedian Dave Chappelle. (Content partnerships have not yet been announced.)
Adderton also emphasized the company's new way of customizing phones. At the Amp'd Web site, users can choose the style of phone and content they want. When the user powers up the phone for the first time, it will automatically download the data (such as special screen savers) onto it.
Amp'd phones will also feature a unique user interface that takes advantage of 3G technology. Based on a demo I saw here, the UI promises to be vibrant, interactive, and easy to use. It has an easy-to-follow hierarchy of menus filled with eye-popping graphics. Amp'd is developing applications based on the BREW 2.1 operating system.
On the hardware side, Amp'd Mobile is working with Kyocera Wireless and Motorola to develop some cool handsets. Adderton showed me a few prototype phones featuring a slider design--the LCD slides up to reveal the keypad. The prototypes come in shiny black and gleaming white covers. The phones will feature Push-To-Talk, a 640-by-480 resolution camera, a USB connection, and a TransFlash media card slot for additional storage. The removable media will also allow users to shuttle data (such as MP3s, photos, and recorded videos) between PCs and cell phones.
Amp'd Mobile will offer both prepaid and postpaid wireless plans, and the phones will range between $99 and $200, Adderton said.