A BitTorrent for cell phones

What BitTorrent did for the Net, mTouche is about to do for phones.

By Chris Morrison, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- By grabbing small pieces of big files from multiple computers simultaneously, BitTorrent became the fastest -- and most popular -- way to share large stuff like music and movies among PCs. Now a Malaysian company is setting up a similar peer-to-peer system for cell phones. Singapore-based mBit, a subsidiary of Malaysian tech firm mTouche, wants to sell its BitTorrent-like M-Bit service to 3G and 4G providers across Asia.

First up is Japan, where mBit is in talks with NTT DoCoMo (Charts) and two other carriers. The pitch: Millions of users can send large files, like 50MB movies captured on a cell phone, to one another simultaneously without clogging up DoCoMo's servers. "It's about making more efficient use of their services," says mBit CEO Chun Yan See. Cost: $2.50 per user per month.

BitTorrent software has been modified for cell phones before but required an Internet connection, just like a PC. M-Bit allows the carrier to run a sharing network on its own airwaves, making it the first mobile superdistribution network. M-Bit should fly "in the more sophisticated mobile markets of the world," says Peter Evans, a senior analyst at BuddeComm. Top of page

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