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Phillipines first mobile ‘Net cafe rolls off

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The Phillipines first mobile Internet cafe will be deployed by the last quarter of the year after testing the market next month with its first van powered by Smart Communications’ wirelesss technology. Original article: RP’s first mobile ‘Net cafe rolls off by Edu H. Lopez, Manila Bulletin Omline

Netopia unveiled this innovative mobile Internet cafe following the launch of its 100th store at Park Square 2 at Ayala Center in Makati City over the weekend.

Jose Maria A. Grau Jr., Netopia vice president for franchise and operations said the mobile Internet cafe van will have 16 desktop computers, printers and scanning services.

The mobile van would be deployed in areas where there is no Internet infrastructure and places which could not be reached by Internet access.

Netopia is planning to deploy 8 to 12 mobile Internet cafes next year and another 60 in 2006.

Grau is optimistic that after the testing the mobile cafe, Netopia would explore the possibility of expanding it through franchising.

Netopia is investing at least P1.5 million per mobile Internet cafe in collaboration with its parent company, ePLDT, Smart Communications and industry partners Intel, Microsoft, HP and Adobe.

Owned by Digital Paradise, Inc., a unit of ePLDT, Netopia is aggressively expanding its network of Internet cafes nationwide and in Southeast Asia with the first branch in Bangkok due to be opened this month.

Netopia president Raymond Ricafort said the 100th store is one of the highlights of the year for the company and its customers whose growing demand for high-speed Internet, laser printing and Internet-related services continue to be a contributing factor for its success.

The new branch also carries the same top-of-the-line computer systems and the latest Internet-related services enjoyed by customers in other Netopia outlets.

The 100th branch boasts of high-speed DSL (digital service line), VoIP (voice over IP) services to provide affordable international calls, licensed software, high-speed monochrome and color printers and an educational facility which can be used as a venue for small classes and seminars.

Netopia has expanded its core business from computer rentals to include professional printing services catering to small and medium enterprises to address this growing demand.

"SMEs need fast and professional color print documents and collaterals on demand in small quantities at a low cost," says Ricafort.

The largest and fastest growing Internet and network gaming chain in the country, Netopia continues to work towards legitimizing the use of systems and applications with the additional purchase of operating systems and desktop publishing software.

The program seeks to advance the lawful use of original and licensed software in Internet cafe shops.

"We have taken a major step by selecting Microsoft operating system and Adobe desktop sofware because they have proven to be what our customers want in order to improve the efficiency and productivity when using our Netopia facilities," Ricafort added

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