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Mobile cap plans heat up with new offering

With competition for third-generation mobile services poised to heat up, 3G network operator, 3 Mobile, has launched new 3G handsets and pricing packages in a bid to grab a bigger slice of the customer pie.3, which opened up the mobile market with the AU$99 Talk Cap, has introduced a range of new caps headed by its AU$49 cap.

With competition for third-generation mobile services poised to heat up, 3G network operator, 3 Mobile, has launched new 3G handsets and pricing packages in a bid to grab a bigger slice of the customer pie.

3, which opened up the mobile market with the AU$99 Talk Cap, has introduced a range of new caps headed by its AU$49 cap. 3 said it would be focusing its marketing initiatives on the AU$49 plan, which allows customers to make up to AU$200 worth of national voice calls, text, voicemail and videotalk within the limit.

The new pricing plans also provide choices at AU$29 (with a cap limit of AU$60), AU$49 and AU$69 (limit AU$400), completing 3's existing AU$79 (cap AU$500) and AU$99 cap plans (cap AU$500, but includes 500 minutes of free 10 min national voice calls with other 3 mobile users).

Hutchison Telecoms director of stakeholder relations, Steve Wright, said the new cap plans were intended to "shake up the big mid-section of the Australian mobile market".

Wright said that over 50 percent of post-paid customers resided in the "middle" market -- as opposed to the higher or lower-ends -- and that 3 to 4 million of those customers spent AU$20 to AU$60 per month. He added that the new mobile offers would be focused particularly on the AU$20 to AU$60 market.

Ericsson recently labelled Hutchison's network a "global trendsetter", saying its dropped call rates had been reduced to levels equivalent to GSM networks. Ericsson's lauding of network performance as "GSM equivalent" came after Hutchison 3G Australia recently announced that it had reduced its dropped call rates from 12 percent at launch to 2 percent and below.

The company said it was on track to complete the peripheral build of more than 200 network sites this year, bringing the total number across the licence areas to 2,000.

3 has also unveiled three new 3G handset models from Motorola that will showcase video, music and multimedia content.

The latest Motorola range is designed to meet the specific needs of business users and general consumers, combining video, stereo music, PDA and e-mail capability in one device. Touchscreen operation, handwriting recognition and business document capabilities are also features of one of the new handsets.

A summer marketing campaign featuring the new handsets, content and pricing will begin today. 3 will launch the Motorola E1000 and C975 in the next few weeks.