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Launch Of Hotxt Set To Change The UK Text Market

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Hotxt is a new text proposition targeting the 16-25 age group and is set to be the next big thing in the text market.  It is the first text service to offer customers the lowest cost with the freedom of network and more benefits than SMS. 

Just as Skype is telephony over the Internet, Hotxt is texting over the Internet.  Hotxt’s technology provides dramatically cheaper texting and currently works on most Java enabled phones across all UK networks apart from pre-pay 02 and 3.

The service offers unlimited text messages to other Hotxt users for £1 per week*, with no commitment or monthly minimum and well over twice the message length limit currently offered by SMS. 

SMS text messaging typically costs 5-12p per message whereas the Hotxt user’s average text message cost is a fraction of a penny.  For someone sending seven texts a day that represents a reduction of their bill by 75%, a saving of over £210 per year.

Doug Richard of Hotxt comments, “Hotxt will change the way UK mobile phone users text in much the same way that Internet use has changed since it moved from a pay as you use to an unlimited model – net use changed dramatically as consumers weren’t shackled to a usage limit or worried about over use.  Already, in countries such as Japan and Korea where unlimited texting has been around for a few years, SMS is not just a way of sending messages but used as part of online shopping, marketing and instant communication.  There the average 16-25 year old sends over 30 texts a day, compared to about seven here in the UK.”

Hotxt is easy to load, personal and secure, with all messages sent to a personal Hotxt Tag rather than a mobile number and access to the application protected by PIN.  Unwanted senders can be blocked at the click of a button, offering users protection from text bullying, text pests and spam. 

Users have the advantage of controlling the inbox, compared to SMS where a message is received without any control. The user interface is similar to SMS with an inbox, sent messages, saved messages and contacts/friends functionality. The mobile connects to the Hotxt server periodically to check messages and to send messages.

Total privacy is offered as a PIN number protects the inbox, allowing users to ensure that messages cannot be read by anyone else. Alerts and preferences can be set via the Hotxt web site using the user’s Tag and PIN to validate the user.

With nine million potential customers in the target age group in the UK, the service has huge potential for growth.  Of those 4.5 million had Java handsets in 2005 and that figure is predicted to rise to 8 million by 2008 (mobileYouth 2005 Survey).  Hotxt is already supporting over a hundred Java handsets at launch.

Co-founded by Doug Richard, of Dragon’s Den fame, Hotxt is managed and backed by technology experts and some of the best known business angels in the UK.   The Hotxt business model is based on providing a low cost weekly subscription and attracting mass volume of users to the service.

* network data charges apply

Additional Information
To use Hotxt, users can sign up to the service either by visiting the web site www.hotxt.co.uk or by SMS (just send ‘JOIN’ to 80468). Upon sign up, the member chooses a personal Hotxt ID (Tag), which is their own Hotxt identity. Subscription to the service costs £1 per week and can be cancelled at any time. There is NO contractual obligation of 12 months as with other mobile services and there are no hidden cancellation clauses/payments. Users can simply text ‘STOP’ to 80468 to cancel the service.

The Hotxt application is provisioned onto the mobile phone via a service message triggered by sign up (via web or mobile). Access to the application is easy as the application is auto-loaded when the phone is switched on and a PIN is entered.
Notes to Editors
Executives on board 

Doug Richard (Co-Founder) Executive Chairman
o Doug is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years' experience in the development and leadership of technology and software ventures, both in the US and in the UK. Between 1996 and 2000 he was President and CEO of Micrografx, a US publicly quoted software company which he sold to Corel Corp. in 2000. Prior to that he also founded and subsequently sold two other companies: Visual Software and ITAL Computers.


David Whitewood – (Co-Founder) Managing Director & Business Development
o David has over 18 years of business development experience with high-tech companies in the UK, Europe, US and Asia, including three companies with Doug Richard. David is responsible for product definition, overall management and development of partner relationships.
 

James Lincoln – Development Director
o Founder and Technical Director of Designer Servers, Ltd. Grew business to successful exit in 2005. Responsible for all development, technical operations, customer service, CRM, billing and administration systems.


Non-Executives/Advisors

David Cleevely
o David Cleevely, Founder of Analysys Ltd, one of Europe's largest independent consultancies specialising in telecommunication strategy. David is the author of more than fifty reports and papers on telecoms strategy and regularly provides expert comment for television and radio. He also advised the UK government on its ecommerce@its.best.uk report, and, most recently, contributed to government thinking on convergence and the Internet. David was a prime mover behind the development of the Cambridge Network, which promotes the high-tech activities of the Cambridge region.

Dr Ewan Kirk
• Dr Ewan Kirk currently works with a number of small companies in the UK and the US.  He retired as a partner at Goldman Sachs in 2005 after a 12 year career in the Fixed Income, Currency, Commodity and Equity divisions running the Quantititive Strategies group.  Prior to this, he was the Director of Innovation at the Generics Group in Cambridge and he also ran two start-up technology companies.  He has a Ph.D in General Relativity and degrees in Mathematics, Astronomy and Natural Philosophy.