I was informed by a "3" support person that while browsing content, you will not be able to receive calls
and they will be diverted to voice mail. My opinion on this is that this is first and foremost a phone and should take phone calls
as the priority over content browsing.
Practical experience though gave me a different answer. When browsing you may receive an incoming call or you may get a busy signal (even though your call divert is on) or the call gets transferred to voice mail.
There is nothing documented from 3 on this.
"3" offer a variety of content based services accessible via the handset but it is all contained and one cannot go outside that. This is a service limitation and not a phone limitation as the phone give you the ability to do full internet browsing (at least that is what NEC claim). (description of content services from 3)
Update (7 July 03): I found out from the Aussie
3G site that in Australia there is a workaround on the NEC e606 that allows one to browse the internet. Click here
to find out how but I don't believe this method is endorsed by "3".
The charging is at a rate of 1c per Kbyte
of the 1st of July 2003, they offer News, Sports, Weather, Games, What's On, Today, Tones Pics, Stars, Finance, Comedy, Find &
Guide and Messaging. According to a 3 support staff, they have many more services that they will be offering soon.
They are offering a cap on these services of $25 per month. (detailed pricing from 3)
Note that this is only available for those who are on First on 3. The latest plans "3 for All" doesn't mention this cap
The service seem to suffer outages fairly frequently and sometimes one has to cycle power on the handset to access the services. (please drop me a line at comments@3GinOz.com if you want to share some of your experiences on this. Click here for comments submitted by other users of the network)
Here is a brief description of what they offer in each:
News: They offer reasonably updated news (but they aren't the BBC). They have a top story that is textual based and is free and a few other video based stories that cost 50c each. When the Content service is operating normally, the download speed of the video clip is very fast.
Sports: The provide scores for the popular sports in Oz like AFL, NRL, Rugby Union and Cricket and those are free and you can also download a video clip of a sports summary or a breaking sports news story at 50c
Weather: 4 day forecast for the Australian capital cities and that is free.
Games: You can download a selection of Java based games for 50c each. However
downloaded games have a 3 day license and if you play them after the 3 days, then the license would be renewed and you'll be charged
another 50c. (This is a rip off in my opinion although they do offer a content cap of $25 per month).
Note: "3" aren't very clear on this. What I've quoted above is what a "3" support person told me. Other support staff I've talked to didn't know!. The web site doesn't mention this specifically but mentions the need for renewing a game license after a certain period of time. (Concepts to understand from 3)
If you are into games, you need to be very careful as they aren't clear about it and if you get a huge bill then maybe you can dispute it as they aren't clear about it.
Another very annoying limitation is that games can only be played in a "3" zone due to this license verification issue.
Update (7 July 03): If you manage to access the Internet (see update above), then you can download some Java games from this site (http://members.optusnet.com.au/wildmx5/midlets) via the phone of course!.
What's On: A handy guide to what is on in the cities where "3" is available. Some content is textual and hence free. A handy link allows you to call the place described with a click. Content appears to be refreshed regularly
Today: A slide show style of the major events of the day. Scrolling through is free with the option of download a video clip of the event in question.
Tones Pics: The ability to download selected ringtunes or pictures (to use as a wallpaper on your phone). Ringtunes are $1.50 while Pics are 50c.
Stars: The horoscope, it is free
Finance: Offers a summary in Video of the Australian and US markets. Anyone serious about finance would want much more.
Comedy: Comedy clips in video format
Find & Guide: Very handy if you don't have a UBD and lost. The service allows you to search for a
street and then displays a map with zoom in and out as well as pan capability. Each map is charged at 10c and that includes every
zoom in or out (according to a 3 support person) and that could make it an expensive exercise.
The search interface is clumsy and hard to use but once you get the hang of it then it is OK. The service is slow though and as with all the content services only available from a "3" zone.
Messaging: A fully featured email interface that allows you to send and receive
emails (10c each but free until 31 Dec 2003). Like the Find and Guide, the interface is clumsy but handy when needed. It comes fully
integrated with a messaging web interface that is fairly good. You can also listen to your voice mails through this interface.
Also the voice mail system accesses your emails as well and can read emails for you and gives you the option to reply by voice to an email.