Industry Moves: Bebo Hires Mobile Head; Will It Drop Premium Fees?

Bebo is hiring Intercasting international GM Sean Kane as its first global head of mobile, charged with giving the teen-focused social net more legs in the wireless space. Bebo worked with Intercasting earlier this year to make its services available via the vendor’s Anthem app, a white-label platform used by networks including T-Mobile (though other carriers like Orange offer Bebo via WAP).

But the T-Mobile service (which, incidentally, refuses work on my handset) costs £0.05 per message and £0.20 per photo. Though the current Orange service is free, the initial deal, and Bebo’s deal with O2 Ireland, asked users to pay monthly a Bebo Mobile fee on top of their carrier subscription. Bebo may have to jettison the premium model if it’s really to drive up mobile use – after all, no-one pays to use Bebo on the desktop.

Bebo’s biz dev SVP Ziv Navoth, rather than AOL (NYSE: TWX) People Networks president Joanna Shields, fronted the press release; Kane said: “Mobile is emerging as a core part of the Bebo experience. By driving availability and adding compelling and unique mobile experiences we hope to make using Bebo Mobile as natural for our global userbase as connecting on a personal computer. We will ensure that our members can connect and enjoy the content, media and community Bebo has to offer in a mobile-relevant way.” Kane had also been Vivendi (EPA: VIV) Universal’s biz dev SVP and Japan GM.