3GSM - O2 & Vodafone plans mobile search engine

Mobile phone networks join forces to offer new search engine

Europe's biggest mobile phone networks will meet at the 3GSM conference next week to discuss uniting to form their own search engine to rival U.S. giants such as Google and Yahoo.

Those involved in the discussion include O2, Vodafone, France Telecom and American network Cingular Wireless. However, the group also plans to consider asking an existing service such as Yahoo or Google to back its efforts to develop a mobile-specific search engine.

Informa Telecoms & Media has predicted that just under half of mobile subscribers will use mobile browsing by 2011. The research firm also believes that the mobile advertising market will rise from less than US$900 million dollars last year to exceed US$11 billion in 2011.

Informa's figures are supported by research from the Mobile Data Association which shows that 40.7 million people used their phones for downloads and browsing the mobile internet in the U.K. during the third quarter of 2006.

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