LAS VEGAS and BASKING RIDGE, NJ — Verizon Wireless announced today that it plans to join the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) established by China Mobile, SOFTBANK and Vodafone to help accelerate the uptake of innovative mobile technologies on a mass-market scale.
The addition of Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, would mean that the JIL now has a combined customer reach of approximately 1 billion consumers.
The JIL will initially focus on creating a single global platform for developers to encourage the creation of a wide range of innovative and useful mobile widgets. These mobile widgets will be capable of enhancing the mobile Internet experience on a variety of smartphones as well as mid- and low-cost handsets on multiple operating systems.
As part of this initiative, the JIL plans to launch later this year a range of tools to encourage innovation among global mobile developers. The tools include: a common mobile widgets specification; easy-to-use developer kits; and an online repository, distribution and payment mechanism to ensure developers can roll out their products to customers in more than 70 countries across North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
"This partnership will enable four of the world's leading mobile operators to pool their combined expertise, innovation and scale for the gain of customers across the globe," said JIL Chairman Masayoshi Son. "As well as driving innovation in the mobile developer world, this initiative is set to empower consumers by giving them access to a range of easy-to-use and compelling Web applications that will enable them to get even more benefits from their handsets."
Mobile widgets are capable of boosting handset functionality as well as transforming the look and feel of a device to give customers quick and easy access to valued content. They are personalized, always-accessible mini applications that sit on a handset to retrieve relevant information from the Web such as weather reports, sports updates and travel timetables.
The JIL mobile widgets specification is set to enrich these services further by enabling developers to access both handset and network functionality such as the address book, camera, location information and billing in a secure environment.
The JIL has been working in close cooperation with a range of industry standards bodies such as the OMTP and the GSMA to outline specifications that will make it easier for developers to create widgets that run on a wide range of handsets, operating systems and networks.
The JIL also welcomes the co-operation of vendors, developers and other operators in the creation of new applications and services.
About China Mobile
China Mobile has been playing a leading role in the development of the mobile communications industry in China and holds an important position in the international area as well. After over ten years of efforts, China Mobile has established a comprehensive network with large coverage, high quality, rich variety of businesses and first-class customer services. With more than 360 thousand mobile base stations and more than 450 million subscribers, China Mobile ranks first in the world in terms of network scale and customer base.
For eight consecutive years, China Mobile has been listed in Fortune 500 with a latest ranking of 148.
For more information, please visit www.chinamobile.com.
SOFTBANK GROUP offers its customers a range of services including mobile communications, broadband infrastructure, fixed-line telecommunications, internet culture, e-Commerce, and others. SOFTBANK MOBILE achieved the No. 1 position in net additions for 2007(FY) and 2008 in the Japanese market, with a total of over 20,250,000 subscribers as of February 2009. For more information, please visit www.softbank.co.jp.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the United States' most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving more than 80 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
Vodafone is the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of 31 December 2008, Vodafone had approximately 289 million proportionate customers worldwide. For further information, please visit www.vodafone.com.