Followap, a provider of mobile instant messaging presence and location (IMPL) platforms for mobile operators, today announced it signed a strategic co-operation agreement with South Korean Samsung, the fourth largest manufacturer of cellular phones. In July of 2001 the company signed an agreement with Vodafone (NYSE, LSE:VOD), the world's largest cellular operator with more than 100 million subscribers. The potential value of the contract is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
Followap COO Tommy Volsen today told TheMarker Samsung will integrate Followap's instant messaging and user availability detection software in its new cell phones to be launched in Q1 2002. Volsen considers this rare in an industry where most cellular manufacturers refrain from using components of external suppliers, and says the move may place Followap as world leader in the field of overall messaging solutions for cellular operators.
The new phones, which will be priced at about $80, are targeted at young 12 to 24 year old audiences who cannot afford the more expensive phones with Java based messaging services.
The new phones display all the messages on the phone screen, and the user can choose which voice messages he wants to hear, and which SMS messages he wants to read.
Samsung, which had a 7% share in the global cell phone market in 2001, plans to sell 32 million units of the 415 million due to be sold in 2002. Samsung's new phones containing Followap's new software will be first sold to subscribers of Vodafone in Britain, which already purchased Followap servers that enable the new Samsung value added services.
Followap's servers are already used by two cellular operators in the world, Irish Aircell, purchased by Vodafone, and Italian Omnitel(Italian site), which provides cellular services to 20 million subscribers and is controlled by Vodafone. The Followap system helps users create communities, chat, locate and communicate with their friends all with their cellular phone.
Volsen predicts the Followap servers will be soon installed by Vodafone's German subsidiary 2D, Germany's largest cellular operator with 22 million users. In the coming months, the servers will be used by its other subsidiaries the world over.