Nokia Oyj, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, yesterday launched the first handset in Taiwan with the capability to receive mobile broadcasts, to spur demand as the nation awaits the introduction of mobile broadcasting licenses next year.
Nokia has teamed up with local TV stations such as Chinese Television Co (中視) and telecom operators including Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) to apply for a mobile TV license.
"We hope this new function will stimulate demand for handheld devices as digital cameras did before," said Pan Tsai-chun (潘才俊), an executive of Nokia's Taiwan branch.
Pan made the remark on the sidelines of the launch of the new N77 mobile phone with the "digital video broadcasting-handheld" (DVB-H) functionality.
The phone is the first such model made by the Finnish brand for commercial sale.
The N77 has a better display, including higher resolution, than third-generation handsets, Pan said.
Until broadcasting licenses are distributed, local users will be able to watch less than ten TV channels, including a news channel and a shopping channel, through a pilot broadcasting project.
Market researcher Informa Telecoms and Media projected sales of mobile phones with DVB-H functionality would soar to 50 million units by the end of 2010 with 125 million subscribers to mobile broadcast TV services.
As the Asia-Pacific region is a leader in pushing for mobile broadcast services, Taiwan was the third market chosen by Nokia for the launch, Pan said.
Nokia started selling the N77 phone in Vietnam and Malaysia earlier this year.
Separately, Credit Suisse Group yesterday raised its forecast for mobile phone shipments to 1.15 billion units this year and to 1.3 billion units next year on faster-than-expected demand in Western Europe, Japan and North America.
Credit Suisse had previously estimated handset shipments would rise 15 percent to 1.14 billion this year and expand 10 percent to 1.25 billion units next year.
Credit Suisse named chip packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體), chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and Foxconn International Holdings Ltd (富士康控股), the world's largest contract manufacturer of handsets, among stocks likely to benefit the most from higher-than-expected phone shipments.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg