A Swiss start-up yesterday announced itself at Telecom 99 in Geneva, unveiling a GSM services portal designed to be a key aggregation point for services and product, based around the world’s most popular mobile standard. Geneva-based Gsmgate.com will go live in 10 cities across Europe and from New York in the US in December. GSMgate’s […]
A Swiss start-up yesterday announced itself at Telecom 99 in Geneva, unveiling a GSM services portal designed to be a key aggregation point for services and product, based around the world’s most popular mobile standard. Geneva-based Gsmgate.com will go live in 10 cities across Europe and from New York in the US in December.
GSMgate’s portal design philosophy is driven by two main considerations, said Joseph Kuszli, the company’s general manager and founder: it will prioritize the provision of quality on a city-area basis, and it will evolve to ensure that the services are transparently accessible from any device, anywhere.
Our service will have two doors, Kuszli explained, an HTML door and a WML door. Today, he added, there are incompatibilities between different wireless access methods, and within the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) community. A key offering of GSMgate will be to iron out these incompatibilities, Kuszli said.
The portal will be open free to consumers, and GSMgate expects to generate revenue from the promotion and reselling of content and services from other GSM-related business, or simply from local and international content providers looking to tap the fast growing market of GSM users around the world.
When we started the business in April, there were 160 million GSM users worldwide, now there are over 200 million, and there will probably be 1 billion soon, said Kuszli, who sees GSM’s largely European origins and uptake as another major advantage for his company. This idea is a natural for a European company. GSM is a European standard, and will remain a European standard. The Americans are just not interested, he said.
Kuszli’s expectation that giant potential US-based rivals, such as Yahoo!, will not be attracted by a GSM community that has already outgrown the global PC user population is probably optimistic. But there is certainly truth in his assertion that for Europeans to find relevant information, such as train timetables and online booking services for the home communities and in their native language is a pain in the neck on Yahoo!
GSMgate has already enlisted the support of fellow Geneva-based company, CBL Wisekey, whose security services it intends to resell via its portal, and Kuszli said his company is talking to a number of Europe’s GSM operators about reselling their services internationally, and expects soon to set up a data communications broking service for GSM operators.
This service will see GSMgate offering online sales of SIM chips to mobile users, bundled with pre-paid air time for the emerging HSCSD GSM data service, allowing GSM users to roam across Europe without having to set up separate data accounts with different operators. Kuszli’s believes it will be an attractive proposition to GSM operators, as we will buy all the minutes from the operator, we will take all the risk.
With just two months to go before its portal goes live, the company which has so far received investment is seeking second round funding of $5m to help spread its portal services to 140 further cities across the world, and as funding for promotion and advertising.
The first 10 cities to feature as GSMgate portal service areas will include New York, London, Venice, Milan, Geneva and Paris.