Telstra adds travel services to i-mode

Telstra has announced "in principle" agreements with some of Australia's travel and transport companies to offer i-mode subscribers access to the latest travel information on their mobile phones.i-mode is a mobile Internet service that provides subscribers with access to rich content, e-mail, games and other applications and services through their mobile phones.

Telstra has announced "in principle" agreements with some of Australia's travel and transport companies to offer i-mode subscribers access to the latest travel information on their mobile phones.

i-mode is a mobile Internet service that provides subscribers with access to rich content, e-mail, games and other applications and services through their mobile phones.

Under Telstra's relationship with Flight Centre, Tourism Victoria, Zuji and Best Flights, i-mode customers will be able to find travel information via their i-mode handset when the service launches in November this year.

Local travel content will also be available from content partners such as Sensis Whereis Maps and Directions, Connex Melbourne and Tourism Victoria.

Telstra managing director of wireless and mobility products, Holly Kramer, said the agreement with the key travel companies would "add an extra dimension to Telstra's rapidly growing i-mode offering".

It is anticipated that i-mode travel content providers will over time feature advanced payment capabilities on their content sites allowing them to sell high value goods and services.

Kramer said since i-mode uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security technology, they are expecting customers to be able to make secure purchases directly from the content provider sites with their credit card.

"Like the Internet, i-mode Web page options include pull down menus and data entry boxes to make purchasing goods and services on i-mode content sites simple," she said.

Under the relationship, customers will be able to opt-in to receive e-mail updates and special offers from travel companies through the i-mode e-mail and picture messaging services. The customer can then book via the i-mode site, or click on telephone links within the i-mode pages to automatically dial the number listed.

"Our partnership with Telstra allows us to extend our service from online, to i-mode phone-connected travellers. i-mode customers can then choose to be alerted to great travel deals on Zuji, and will be able to check travel itinerary options and prices through Zuji conveniently, and free of content charges, from their handset 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Zuji Australia general manager, Jo O'Brien said.

Paul Baron, manager online marketing at Tourism Victoria, said Tourism Victoria's i-mode site would simplify accessing information about Melbourne and Victoria for many of its customers, regardless of where they are in the coverage area or what time of the day they access the site.

Telstra previously signed a partnership deal with Turner Broadcasting to give i-mode subscribers access to CNN news and Cartoon Network content on their mobile phones.