Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Motorola to strengthen partnerships with local firms

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Motorola Inc, the world's second-largest mobile phone maker, would further strengthen its partnership with Taiwanese handset manufacturers in order to cope with fast-growing demand in emerging markets, Simon Leung (梁念堅), president of Motorola's Asia Pac-ific branch, said yesterday.

Leung's remarks came amid market speculation that Motorola planned to develop and make its latest entry-level mobile phone, codenamed Motophone, by itself rather than outsourcing production to Taiwanese companies as it has done over the past few years.

"Motorola has been doing research and development itself. Motorola will maintain this strategy, but we do not plan to make any changes with our partners," Leung told a press briefing in Taipei.

The new Motophone, which is a super-slim model with a low price tag, will target emerging markets such as India, Leung said.

Mobile penetration is still low in those areas, Leung said. India has a similar population to China, but only had 100 million mobile users, compared with China's 400 million.

"The market [potential] is huge, so I believe there will be ample room for Motorola to cooperate further with Taiwanese companies," Leung said.

Currently, Compal Communications Inc (華寶通訊) is a major supplier to Motorola.

Separately, Leung said that the Chinese government would not release third-generation (3G) licenses until next year after the four Chinese mobile operators consolidate.

Beijing believes it would be too much for the Chinese telecom market to have four 3G operators, he said.

Ericsson AG chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg, who was visiting Taipei yesterday, echoed Leung's remarks, saying that he did not expect the Chinese government to approve any applications for a 3G license within the next six to 12 months.

Separately, Svanberg said Ericsson had been awarded a contract by Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) to build a 3G data network based on new high speed packet access (HSPA) technology.

HSPA technology can offer transmission speeds of up to 3.6 megabits per second, nine times faster than current 3G networks.

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