BT makes successful 3G video call

Isle of Man's 3G network still looks on track for a 'late summer' launch, assuming technical glitches are overcome

BT Wireless has announced that it made a successful video call between two third-generation (3G) phones on the Isle of Man on Wednesday, and insists it is still on track to launch the Manx 3G network later this summer.

The 3G video call, thought to be the first of its type to be made outside of a test centre, was made between two 3G handsets made by NEC. Each was connected to a palm-sized device called an "image viewer terminal" (IVT), which consists of a camera and a small screen.

"We had to do the call that way, because no manufacturer has created a 3G device with a built-in screen and camera yet," a spokesman explained. The call took place at Ronaldsway Airport, which is situated on the south-east of the island.

BT is working in partnership with Manx Telecom whose managing director Chris Hall said said that the successful video call was a key step in the process of building a 3G network on the island. "Along with our project partners at NEC and Siemens, we are making progress every day and achieving significant milestones with 3G technology and devices, all of which provide BT Wireless with invaluable experience and learning," he said in a statement.

BT was recently forced to delay the launch of the Isle of Man 3G network after technical problems. "We said at the time of the postponement that we were delaying the launch until late summer, and that's still the plan. No specific date has been set yet," the company spokesman insisted.

Industry insiders believe that BT's 3G network will not launch before Japanese rival NTT DoCoMo gets its own network working. DoCoMo also experienced technical problems, but is aiming to launch a fully-operational 3G network on 1 October this year.

Find out more about what's coming up in the wireless world with ZDNet UK's Special Report: The Road to 3G.

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