Sat, Mar 13, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Far EasTone teams up with DoCoMo for Taiwan service

STAFF WRITER

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation's second-largest mobile-phone carrier after Taiwan Cellular Corp (台灣大哥大), said it signed a consultancy pact with NTT DoCoMo Inc yesterday to launch a third-generation (3G) mobile network in Taiwan this year.

Under the agreement, NTT DoCoMo will offer its technical support to Far EasTone in offering Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) phone services here, Far EasTone said in a statement yesterday.

Far EasTone, which acquired smaller rival KG Telecommunications Co (和信電訊) in October last year, is banking on the merger to establish a close partnership with NTT DoCoMo, which was a minority stakeholder in KG Telecom.

DoCoMo has invested ?68 billion (US$613 million) since November 2000 on buying a 21.4 percent-stake in KG Telecom. The company now owns a 4.9 percent stake in the combined company.

"Through the partnership with NTT DoCoMo, the world's first successfully launched 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA, we can leverage their technical knowledge and experience in advanced mobile multimedia services," Far EasTone chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) said in a statement.

DoCoMo will dispatch engineers to Taiwan to help with a 3G field test and coverage optimization from late March to late September, according to Far EasTone.

The deal may also benefit DoCoMo, as the Tokyo-based company hopes to expand the use of its services around the world.

"By creating a partner in W-CDMA carriers, we have opened a road to our entrance into the Taiwanese market," the AFP reported DoCoMo spokesman Nobuo Hori as saying.

The consultancy deal follows an agreement in principle between DoCoMo and Far EasTone last October to cooperate in the field of W-CDMA and the Japanese carrier's i-mode proprietary cellular Internet access technology.

KG Telecom introduced i-mode services to Taiwan in June 2002, allowing users to browse the Internet, exchange e-mail and download applications via i-mode handsets.

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