Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 17 News List

3G systems star at telecom show

NEXT GENERATION Alhough Taiwanese have a long wait before the technology is available, products from Japan are a hit at the telecom and networking exposition

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Panasonic Taiwan employee Sabrina Dai shows off an Internet access phone currently in use in Japan at the Taipei Telecommunications and Networking Show. The show at the Taipei World Trade Center runs through Monday.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

The 2001 Taipei Telecommunica-tions and Networking show began yesterday with attendees focused on third generation mobile phone systems (3G).

Planned 3G telecommunication services are expected to revolutionize the way people access the Internet, allowing the freedom to get e-mail, send pictures, or find oneself on a map with the help of satellites, anywhere in the world with high-speed data transmission.

For the first time, 3G mobile phones from Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc are available for hands-on testing at the show.

"Currently DoCoMo is testing its 3G service with 4,500 selected users in Japan, and we plan to officially launch our [3G mobile service] product in October," said Tomoko Homma, international public relation manager at NTT DoCoMo, who came from Japan for this demonstration.

NTT DoCoMo is Japan's leading mobile phone operator and currently has 37 million subscribers -- approximately 58 percent market share.

The venture's " i-mode" service has been a hit by attracting more than 26 million users to browse the Internet, exchange e-mail and download dynamic applications via i-mode handsets, Homma said.

Freedom of Mobile multimedia Access (FOMA) is the brand name of DoCoMo's 3G high-speed data service, emphasizing multimedia applications like music, video and games.

"You can check movie previews or play saga games on FOMA's colorful screens, " Homma said.

According to one manufacturer of FOMA phones, the wireless broadband network is the key to enjoying multimedia content on handset screens.

"FOMA's download speed is up to 384Kbps -- 40 times faster than WAP, and therefore we can make video-conference calls and watch motion pictures on handsets," said Kung Yi-shin (龔益興), mobile department assistant manager at Panasonic Taiwan Co Ltd.

He added that the handset screens are approximately half the size of a business card, with superior color resolution.

Although dreams of future 3G world's look great at the show, here in the real world, Taiwan users still have a long wait for the service to become a reality.

"I believe the government won't release 3G operation licenses until early next year and the public will have to wait one more year for construction and testing," said Nathan Lin (林宗賢), a telecom analyst at National Securities Corp (建宏證券).

But one 3G industry pundit said the time lag may be a benefit for Taiwan's telecom market.

"Though we lag behind European companies now, we can gain a lot of experience from them and maybe catch," said Lynn Chu (朱孝萱), product director in the network division at Siemens Telecommunication system Ltd Taiwan.

Other gadgets and services showcased in the telecom exposition include general pocket radio system (GPRS) applications, bluetooth-enabled equipment and fixed-line services such as ADSL.

The 2001 Telecom Show runs through Monday in the first exhibition hall of the Taipei World Trade Center.

This event is open from 9am to 6pm and admission is NT$200.

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