Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 10 News List

3G is the future, once its more affordable: Alcatel

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Telecom industry veterans yesterday painted a rosy future for third-generation (3G) services, saying that they expected to see mass deployment of the service worldwide -- including in Taiwan -- next year.

"The real bottleneck of 3G is handset value, in terms of price and functionality," said Philippe Germond, president and chief operation officer of the French telecom equipment maker Alcatel SA, at a Taipei press conference yesterday.

Though the carriers and vendors were pushing investment in 3G infrastructure, there won't be a boom until the applications and handsets become affordable for consumers, which should happen next year, Germond said, declining to further specify a projected timeframe.

Taiwan, in line with the global trend, may also see mass deployment of 3G services at the same time as a result of evolving applications and consumer appetite for novel services, said Christian Reinaudo, president of Alcatel's Asia-Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai.

Alcatel established an information and communication technology application research and development center late last year, a multi-million US dollar-project in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

It kicked off an interoperability-testing phase, developed by the center, yesterday. Local telecom and high-tech companies can utilize the program to test the interoperability of their products, enhancing their time-to-market capabilities and reducing lower cost, Alcatel said.

It also demonstrated some of the 3G services it provides, including a video delivery portal, video messaging and video telephony.

Alcatel rolled out 3G services to carrier clients in many countries this year, including NTT DoCoMo in Japan and Orange in Europe, Germond said.

The Asia-Pacific region is an emerging and fast-growing market for telecom firms, he said, and is expected to trigger many new applications with its high capacity for new services and applications.

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