The Italian cellular operator 3 Italia has been busy signing mobile broadband and MVNO co-op deals to boost revenues from non-core services. The company has teamed up with Yahoo! to offer a USB dongle, labelled the Yahoo! Internet Key, for mobile broadband services over 3's nationwide HSDPA network. The dongle is being offered for free with new monthly contracts ordered via Yahoo! and is also available to buy at 3 stores across Italy.
The MVNO deal has been struck with Philippines-based PLDT, which plans to launch services in Rome and Milan early next month. The service, using the brand name Smart Pinoy, will be targeted at the Filipino community in Italy, with cut-price international rates between Italy and the Philippines.
Separately, but perhaps an indication of the financial pressures now facing operators, 3 UK has started sending text messages to its UK subscribers recommending they pay bills on time to avoid a late payment fee. However, the company insists it has never charged anyone for failing to pay on time. This is unlike T-Mobile which will automatically add £5 to a UK subscriber's invoice if it is not paid on time.
3 Italia deploys enhanced HSPA. HSPA story