"In the past, people (shopped for) greeting cards and sent them via slow mail. A few years ago, many switched to e-cards," Nokia Networks Regional Director Mike Wang told a news conference.
"Today, virtually every mobile phone-toting consumer is sending images and video clips to his or her peers. We just gave them another option with our virtual cards."
Taiwan Mobile subscribers could simply order a virtual card from the operator by dialing 830820, type in a personalized message over the image, and send it to friends and family members' 2.5G and 3G phones. A virtual card costs NT$20.
Nokia Networks and Taiwan Mobile's initial "V" card gallery features five themes: Christmas (Santa, reindeers, and snowmen); Japanese cartoon-inspired images; traditional Chinese art; cute animals; and "V" cards for all occasions.
"We are working very closely with operators like Taiwan Mobile since they are keen on promoting 3G services," said Wang, noting that Nokia provides equipment, solutions and services for network operators and corporations.
Nokia Networks is an end-to-end solution provider that actively offers a complete platform for cutting-edge 3G applications and mobile services in Taiwan. The company is more than ready to supply carriers the technology that they need to ride the 3G wave, Wang said.
"We have the technology," the executive said in an earlier interview.
"Multimedia via IMS (IP multimedia solutions) and SIP (session initiation protocol) are becoming mainstream technologies. The All-IP strategic architecture allows different access options like fixed broadband, wireless and mobile Internet networks in integrated IP networks layers for mobile users."
The use of IP protocols will enable information to be seamlessly transported and accessed, regardless of whether the information is data or voice, passive or interactive, stored or real-time, said the official.
"We are providing our customers innovative technologies and seamless technical support, and endeavoring to promote 3G applications for a richer mobile life," said Wang.
This is especially true for Taiwan where everyone owns a phone, and where voice services have reached a saturation point. 3G will push data services, and create a new revenue stream for operators, he said.
Nokia, through its 3G Development Center in Taiwan, is also prepared to assist mobile carriers develop multimedia applications.
"Each carrier has its own niche. One may be more interested in launching video streaming services, another may be heavy on location-based services," Wang said.
"There would, of course, be some common applications like video-call, but on top of those fundamental services, carriers would seek ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors."
In the case of Taiwan Mobile, "V" cards are not just potentially lucrative revenue-earners, said company executive Nora Liao.
"Nokia and Taiwan Mobile are also doing this for charity," Liao said. "For every 'V' card that is bought, NT$5 will go to the Good Shepherd Sisters Social Welfare Service."
Sister Therese Tang, executive directress of the welfare organization, lauded the two mobile players for kickstarting the charity campaign.
"Their contribution is deeply appreciated," the nun said. "We hope several subscribers will support this 'V' card service."
The Good Shepherd Sisters run several half-way homes for Taiwan's abandoned babies, abused children, and extremely ill infants, Tang said.