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News from Asia-Pacific

Alcatel Earmarks US$53M for 3G Rollout

French telecom equipment maker Alcatel will roll out locally-developed 3G applications as part of its US$53 million partnership program investment to develop a mobile hub in Malaysia.

Ralph Khoury, Alcatel Malaysia managing director, noted that the company is currently working with 10 companies here to develop the applications. "They are involved in different domains of the content and applications delivery chain. These include content providers, content aggregators, service providers as well as network operators."

Under the partnership program, Alcatel will provide expertise, consultancy and training that utilize its GPRS and UMTS infrastructure for content and application developers. "The provision of direct seeding of funds and formation of joint venture are also an option depending on the needs and requirements of the partnership," said Khoury.

He added that the new applications caters to both GPRS/EDGE and 3G/UMTS as it is the natural evolution for the mobile applications to go from GPRS/EDGE to 3G, while taking advantage of the increased features along their path.

"We already have a real need for mobile applications in Malaysia, Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific in general. Since our 3G Reality Center in Kuala Lumpur is part of Alcatel's worldwide network of 14 centers, we can support any partner that would like to join hands with Alcatel to provide applications to all our customers. Language is not a barrier. Localization of applications from country to country will ensure that," he said.


A study by Pyramid Research last year found a pool of 350,000 subscribers here who will pay between US$10 to US$20 a month for mobile data applications, making Malaysia one of the most attractive markets for high-bandwidth services in the region.

Khoury cited Alcatel's established relationship with key players in the advanced markets of Japan and Korea as examples of successful international technology collaboration. In Japan, a joint venture between Alcatel and Fujitsu was established in 2000 to create Evolium SAS. Evolium SAS combines Alcatel's expertise in GSM, GPRS and EDGE as well as in ATM and IP technologies, with the advanced experience of Fujitsu. The JV has signed two licensing agreements with NTT DoCoMo concerning patents, know-how and software.

Three years ago, Alcatel installed its complete Evolium solution including the UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) radio systems, the Core network; the radio network controller (RNC) and a dedicated application service platform at its 3G Reality Center here. The Alcatel 3G/UMTS pilot network provides data rates of up to 384kbps and can handle videophony calls between two 3G handsets, online access to data and video streaming and for transmitting video images from a remote Webcam and Internet surfing.

by Anita Devasahayam

(December 2003 Issue, Nikkei Electronics Asia)

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