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Red Bull Mobile launches with a promise of ‘great content and events’

I’m currently on my fourth or fifth Red Bull, I’m not entirely sure, but more importantly, at a spectacular event in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening, South African mobile operator Cell C laid on a gala event to announce that it is teaming up with Red Bull Mobile to bring South Africa its second MVNO.

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Like Virgin Mobile, as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Red Bull Mobile will provide mobile phone services but not its own network infrastructure. Instead, if you’re a Red Bull Mobile subscriber, you’ll be cruising along at theoretical speeds of up to 21 Mbit/s speeds thanks to Cell C’s new 4G network. No really, it’s ok to call it 4G… even T-Mobile is doing it.

So if it’s really just Cell C, why would I want to sign up with Red Bull Mobile?

Turns out it’s all about the content and events. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 29, Red Bull Mobile wants you to know that you’re going to get exclusive access to to stuff like:

  • Red Bull TV. Exclusive video streams (non DVB-H) for football games, extreme videos, music events or interviews with athletes.
  • Mobile Portal. The Red Bull MOBILE Portal offers you exclusive content such as news on events from the world of Red Bull, glimpses into the athlete’s daily lives, action videos as well as the aforementioned Red Bull TV. You can also download music, apps and games as well as see constantly updated messages and sport reports.
  • Exclusive apps. RBMA (Red Bull Music Academy) Radio for exclusive music, and interviews, Coach which is a personal training and monitoring app like Adidas’s miCoach, Community which brings your social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube together, and games like Red Bull Flugtag and Red Bull X-Fighters.
  • Red Bull Events. With the handsets and rates from Red Bull Mobile you can meet Red Bull athletes in person, experience live music and win adventures, such as a flight in the Red Bull Mobile stunt plane with Glen Dell. You also get special access to the top nightclubs in your city and a chance to receive exclusive concert tickets.

  • So what does it cost to have access to “The World of Red Bull”?

    Well, for starters, you have two options.

    Option 1: R149 per month and connection fee of R114

    This gives you something called an RBM C. The build number reveals that it’s actually a re-branded Huawei U8110. Not a phone that I’d personally want in my life, but according to Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt, Red Bull Mobile’s tariff plans are “not about the price but about bringing energy to mobile”. Fair enough.

    The version I saw, was running Android Eclair (2.1) at a 528 MHz with 256 MB of RAM, 512 MB of on-board storage and a microSD slot for storage of up to 16 GB. I’m finding it difficult to say nice things about the 240 x 320 2.8” TFT screen, especially since it was one of the most unresponsive touch experiences I’ve ever had, but again, in the context of cost effectiveness, I’m biting my tongue.

    Finally the phone includes a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, 802.11 b/g WiFi, GPS and AGPS, FM radio, Bluetooth 2.1, accelerometer, 3.5 mm audio jack, external mono speaker, and 1150 mAh battery.

    Considering Red Bull Mobile’s content focus, you’ll be happy to know the phone supports HSDPA (but not HSUPA).

    The RBM C comes bundled with 100 anytime minutes to any network, 50 messages (SMS/MMS) and 250 MB inclusive data. The out-of-bundle national call per minute rate is R1.50 and an SMS/MMS will set you back 50c. Out-of-bundle data per MB is 40c and international calls will cost you R1.50 per minute while an international SMS will cost you R1.50 per message.

    Option 2: R249 per month and connection fee of R114

    Red Bull Mobile calls it the RBM HD, but we know it as the Huawei U8800. Though not stellar, the RBM HD is a much better offering. Here we’re looking at a Froyo-flavoured Android device running at 800 MHz with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of on-board storage. Display wise, it has a much more responsive 3.8” 480 x 800 TFT multi-touch screen. Some other noteworthy features include the 5MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash capable of recording 720p video and both HSDA and HSUPA transfer capability.

    The phone also includes snappy 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and AGPS, FM radio, proximity – and ambient light sensor, accelerometer, stereo sound, 3.5 mm audio jack and 1500 mAh battery.

    The RBM HD comes bundled with 200 anytime minutes to any network, 100 messages (SMS/MMS) and 500 MB inclusive data. The out-of-bundle national call per minute rate is R1.50 and an SMS/MMS will set you back 50c. Out-of-bundle data per MB is 30c and international calls will cost you R1.50 per minute while an international SMS will cost you R1.50 per message.

    Reichelt also announced that Symbian options would be coming to Red Bull Mobile, and that the devices at launch constitute the “high-end” of their offerings.

    Note that both phones are subject to a 24 month contract and on-device downloads from any of Red Bull Mobile’s content offerings will be deducted from subscribers’ data use.

    Red Bull Mobile will be available from 25 February 2011 at Cell C stores.

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