Nokia users can download graphics from Freeserve

Would you pay £1.50 to get a picture of your favourite pop star displayed on your mobile? Freeserve reckons plenty of people will

Nokia mobile phones users are now able to download pictures onto their mobile phone displays by using a personalised graphics service from Freeserve.

The Internet service provider (ISP) launched the service, called Grab-a-pix, on Thursday. It allows users to take a small image from their PC and convert it into a picture message, screen saver or an image that appears when a certain person calls. Freeserve claims that Grab-a-pix is a significant breakthrough because it allows users to have any picture of their choice on their phone.

Users can log onto www.grab-a-pix.com to download the software required, before storing their images online. They must then phone a premium rate telephone number to give the details of the mobile phone they want the picture sent to -- which Freeserve estimates will cost around £1.50 per call.

The company is hoping that the service will appeal to those phone users who have embraced the concept of paying for individual ringtones. "Downloadable ringtones are so popular and we're sure that our customers will be eager to take advantage of the opportunity to use Grab-a-pix to access a much wider menu of images," said Jon Gisby, managing director of Freeserve Portals.

However, the service will only work with particular handsets. For example, screensavers will only work on Nokia 3310 and 3330 phones. Likewise picture messages -- relatively large images with some text attached -- will only work on the 3210, 3310, 3330, 6210, 6250, 8210, 8850 and 8890 devices.

Following the heavy investment in GPRS and 3G networks, mobile operators need to offer compelling services which users are prepared to pay for. Handsets are increasingly marketed as "lifestyle choices", and users can already choose from a wide range of colourful covers, which clip onto the front of the phone. By letting a user store a picture of a musician or film star, Grab-a-pix is an extension of this process.

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