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WAP usage soars with Big Brother

Less than one week after the second Big Brother series, WAP usage has increased by a fifth in Britain as voyeurs seek to keep up

WAP usage in Britain has increased by 20 percent during the first six days of Big Brother, with hundreds of mobile users taking advantage of the live content feeds offered by BT Cellnet.

Genie, the BT mobile Internet platform sponsoring the second instalment of last summer's voyeuristic experiment, has witnessed a surge in WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) uptake amongst mobile phone users across all networks in the last week. A WAP portal developed by Genie is enabling mobile Internet users to access Big Brother updates, including editorial feeds, poll information and the latest gossip.

A WAP emulator has been built into the site to educate users in how to use the platform. "WAP phones are essentially very easy to use," said Tracy Hirth, head of brand and marketing communications at BT Cellnet. "Our use of the platform is extending the talkability of Big Brother, feeding the nation's need for gossip."

Less than one week into the Internet phenomenon, 40,000 Britons have registered for free SMS alerts from the Genie microsite, that inform fans of the latest developments in the house. BT Cellnet has also received 50,000 calls to its information line, and over 2.5 million people have tuned into the Big Brother video-streams since the site went live last Friday.

As official sponsors of the TV coverage, BT Cellnet is exploiting this year's multi-platform approach to Big Brother, by marketing vouchers that enable fans to eavesdrop on member of the household 24 hours a day through their mobile phone. Users can individually tailor the service to suit their areas of interest, choosing between various options that include hot gossip from the house, nomination and eviction updates, psychological insights into the housemates' mental state, and downloadable ringtones and screen icons.

Vouchers will cost £4.99 and last for four weeks -- they can be activated by calling the BT hotline or through the official Big Brother Web site. The service is available on any mobile network.

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