T-Mobile first to launch branded Opera Mini

T-Mobile International AG & Co. KG is the first operator to offer a branded version of the Opera Mini Web browser, Opera Software ASA announced Wednesday at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The addition of Opera Mini to T-Mobile's handsets will extend the operator's "web'n'walk" mobile Internet offering to a wider market by including the capability in low-end and mid-range phones. The mobile data offering was previously available only to users of high-end phones that could support full featured browsers.

Starting this month T-Mobile will offer three phones that include Opera Mini: the Sony Ericsson K608i, Motorola V3/V3i and Nokia 6280. T-Mobile is expected to start selling additional handsets with Opera Mini in the second quarter, Opera said.

Opera Mini is a hosted mobile Web browsing system. The client component can be loaded onto any Java-enabled phone. It communicates with a back-end server that strips out and condenses content, making it suitable for access on a small device.

Opera will host the service for T-Mobile, although an operator could also decide to host the service itself, said Tor Odland, an Opera spokesman.

Opera also hosts Opera Mini for any customer with a suitable phone. Users can download the software to their phones and use the service from Opera, paying only for the data transfer rates charged by their operator.

T-Mobile said it has sold 400,000 web'n'walk phones and will be selling over 20 different models by the second quarter. Web'n'walk is currently available in Germany, the U.K., Austria and the Netherlands, and is scheduled to launch in the Czech Republic this year, T-Mobile said.

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