Sri Lanka's Dialog Telekom has introduced a 3G gaming service that enables multi-player gaming via video calls on any 3G-enabled handset.
3G Play, developed by WaveNET on a revenue-share model and launched with eight games, was jointly announced by the two firms at the Mobile Asia Congress in Macau. The service allows subscribers to challenge other players by making an inbound video call to the system, or participate in single-player games with the system. While playing, the users can chat via an open audio channel. Games include Tic Tac Toe, Black Jack 21 and poker.
Dialog's 3G network covers 40% of the country. 3G users account for just 4% of its subscriber base, which hit five million in October. The market is in the midst of a price war, with rates falling sharply across the board over the last year. Dialog COO Supun Weerasinghe says video calls are priced at 5 rupees ($0.045) per minute.
WaveNET CEO Suren Pinto told Telecomasia.net that the idea behind its 3G gaming platform was to enable operators to move beyond the current one-time download gaming model and create games that drive 3G usage. "In the 3G world operators have low utilization of their networks, so we're moving gaming to the 3G environment to help operators boost 3G traffic."
He said WaveNET's goal was to make gaming accessible to the widest possible audience by making it simple to use. The service is not handset dependent, which he noted was key in a predominately prepaid market. "We have minimized the consumer education process by requiring the user to simply dial into a portal to access a host of games."
To add a competitive element, the service offers a rating engine, which ranks players based on their scores and only allows players with a high ranking to challenge the top players. WaveNET plans to add additional games next year, and also provide the APIs to other developers so they can plug their games into the platform.