Virgin to launch mobile VOD, and unveil 'social networking' handset

Having gained over 73,000 new mobile phone customers during Q2/09, Virgin Mobile UK is now reported to be looking to encourage its near 800,000 mobile users to subscribe to mobile video-on-demand (VOD) and use social networking sites using a new (yet to be launched) BlackBerry-style email device.

The strategy is part of Virgin Media's efforts to link together its mobile, broadband and television customers under a ‘third screen' campaign, which the company hopes will provoke more of its broadband customers to sign up for mobile services. This move will see the company unveil its new Blackberry-like handset for use on networking sites such as Twitter, as well as offering high-end smartphones, like the Nokia E-series, to attract high-spending customers.

According to Graeme Oxby, Virgin Mobile's managing director, the company , has set its sights on integrating the content available through Virgin Media's set-top box and on its broadband portal more closely with mobile devices. "We are finally getting ready for the bigger push around what we think is the next big step - what we call the 'third screen'," he said. "We have customers using fast broadband and customers watching TV. How do we bring that to life on the mobile phone?"

"We have done some mobile video so that we know it works and people like it, but actually getting to VOD, which is more a world of pause, rewind and resume rather than just being able to download, is where it gets very interesting."

Meanwhile, Virgin Media announced it was working to launch the world's first unlimited music download subscription service with Universal Music, and said discussions were now underway with other major and independent labels and publishers.

For more on this story:
and Mobile Today

Related stories:
Virgin Mobile France and Numericable discuss joint bid for French 3G licence
Virgin Mobile: Where will Branson spend his US$250m?
Virgin Mobile TV sputters; more handsets planned