Dubai: Mobile phone subscribers now have another reason to be glued to their handsets with the launch of etisalat's Weyak service.

The latest offering is a portal for mobile phones giving users access to community sites, music and other entertainment.

While over 100,000 users participated in free registration for Weyak during the World Cup, yesterday marked the official launch of the mobile portal.

The launch signals etisalat's commitment to retain customers with high-bandwidth, data-rich content, as advances in handset technology continue their rapid pace.

"We are entering the world of online media because that is where our customers want us to be," Khalifa Al Forah, acting chief marketing officer of etisalat, said at a press conference.

etisalat has narrowed in on community-based content such as blogs that have proven successful in attracting and retaining customers.

Ahmad Nassef, vice-president of Maktoob, which owns a family of Arabic websites, gave an example at the conference: one blog that wrote about the Danish cartoon controversy received 7,000 comments from readers.

Weyak offers free e-mail for etisalat customers and entertainment such as news, Islamic content, shared photo albums, and content for download such as games, music and movie trailers.

Both Bollywood and Filipino content will be available on the service to cater to the UAE's diverse population.

etisalat is partnering with HP to create a 3G video portal on Weyak, while Agence France-Presse has been tapped to stream news feeds and European sports leagues to provide sports broadcasts.