Thursday 26 June 2008

Lonely Planet mobile website debuts on Telstra BigPond

Lonely Planet and Telstra today announced the launch of Lonely Planet's mobile internet site (m-site) – a new service that provides the Lonely Planet community with always-on, real-time access to the company's trusted and best-selling travel content. Available through the BigPond portal, the site can now be accessed by the millions of Telstra 3G and Next G™ mobile telephone customers across Australia.

At the core of the Lonely Planet m-site is a 'What's Around Me?' feature that enables users to select their current or planned location and instantly get Lonely Planet recommendations for the nearest restaurants, nightlife spots, hotels, shops and sights on their mobile phone. The mobile site taps into Lonely Planet's extensive database of points of interest covering thousands of well-known and off-the-beaten-track destinations around the world, which have been researched and handpicked by its team of expert travel authors on the ground. A dynamic map feature enables users to see the precise location of these points of interest and their proximity to their current location.

"What excites us about the mobile platform is that it enables us to make our services available any time, anywhere – because your mobile phone is carried around with you all day, every day and increasingly understands where you are," said Chris Boden, Lonely Planet's director of global business development. "Through our mobile services, we're able to extend the sense of adventure associated with Lonely Planet to people's everyday lives and provide contextually relevant answers to a new set of questions like 'What should I explore today?' and 'What's nearby to me that's worth experiencing?'"

The site enables those users looking for inspiration for their next trip, to browse through Lonely Planet's detailed destination content, view travel photos from the extensive Lonely Planet Images library, and look through tips from other travellers in the Bluelist section. Additional community features are planned for a major follow-up release later this year.

"BigPond is a leader with innovation and simplicity with our mobile portal," said Justin Milne, Group Managing Director, BigPond. "More and more of our customers are using our BigPond Mobile portal, which includes a special web tab designed to give them quick access to popular mobile sites like Lonely Planet."

Although the mobile site is first being released to an Australian audience, its content isn't restricted by national boundaries. Destination information is available for every major travel region: Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. When searching for a destination in 'What's Around Me', users can search specifically for what's near a numbered address, cross-streets, cities, suburb or postcode.

Lonely Planet will not charge BigPond users to access the mobile site, however, standard data charges for BigPond customers browsing mobile internet content will apply. Lonely Planet joins other major brands that have recently enlisted to display on the BigPond Web tab.

About Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is a leading independent global travel information company. It is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travellers. Lonely Planet covers the must-see spots, but also encourages travellers to get off the beaten track and understand more of the nature, culture and environment in each destination.  Lonely Planet currently has more than 360 writers, researchers and photographers and produces around 500 trustworthy and inspiring books, innovative downloadable digital guides, an award-winning website, wireless applications and cutting-edge television programmes. Lonely Planet was founded after Tony and Maureen Wheeler left London and hit the road in search of adventure in 1972. They travelled overland across Asia and landed in Australia where, due to incessant questions from would-be travellers, they compiled their journey notes and stapled together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap.

About BigPond
BigPond® is Australia's largest ISP, with more than 3 million customers. Backed by Telstra, BigPond provides its customers with reliable fixed and wireless internet services and unmetered entertainment channels featuring music, movies, sport and games, online and on Telstra Next G™ and 3G mobile phones. BigPond has received a number of accolades – most recently Best Broadband Supplier 2007 at the Australian Telecom Awards, Internet Technology of the Year at the 2007 Australian Personal Computer Internet Technology awards for BigPond Wireless Broadband, and Best Wireless Operator 2006 and Best ISP 2005 at the Australian Telecom Awards.

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