Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. ("FET," Taiwan), Hutchison Essar Limited ("Hutchison Essar," India), Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited ("Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong," Hong Kong and Macau), KT Freetel Co., Ltd. ("KTF,"Rep. of Korea), NTT DoCoMo, Inc. ("DoCoMo", Japan), PT Indosat Tbk ("Indosat,"Indonesia) and StarHub Ltd. ("StarHub,"Singapore) today announced that they have formed an alliance to enhance members' competitiveness in international roaming and corporate mobile services in their own countries/regions and across Asia-Pacific. It is expected that through this alliance, multinationals as well as business and leisure travelers will be able to enjoy greater convenience, ease of use and value-added mobile features when they roam onto other members' mobile networks.
The alliance, tentatively called the "Asia-Pacific Mobile Alliance," boasts a combined customer base of about 100 million mobile subscribers over eight countries and regions. The alliance plans to expand its members over time.
The alliance will promote voice, video and data roaming via members' GSM/GPRS and/or W-CDMA networks, with an intention to launch roaming via HSDPA networks once the market is ready. These initiatives are targeted for launch in the latter half of 2006.
One of the other aims of this alliance is to create a Virtual Home Environment amongst customers of member operators, so that they are able to experience seamless, convenient mobile-related services when they roam. Customers can expect a caller ID display service, as well as a short-code service to allow travelers quick and easy connection to their home country/region operator's voice mail and customer-support center, etc. The alliance is also planning to enhance cross-border customer support for multinational corporations.
Jan Nilsson, president of FET, commented,"Business travelers in the Asia-Pacific region are an important customer group for FET. With this alliance, we would like to make those customers feel at home when they use their mobile services in the alliance partners' networks."
Asim Ghosh, managing director of Hutchison Essar, said, "We are continuously working towards making the communication experience simple and pleasurable for Hutchison Essar's customers while they are on international roaming. The Asia-Pacific region is an important market for Indian travelers and this alliance would mean ease of connectivity, better service, as well as trouble-free access to customer support."
Peter Wong, chief executive officer of Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong, said, "The usage of international roaming traffic is climbing across the Asia-Pacific region. The timely formation of this alliance heralds the advance of the international roaming service frontier, laying a strategic platform for the alliance partners to synergize and drive pioneering services. We are pleased to be a founding member of the alliance and look forward to bringing even more unprecedented innovative roaming services to our customers, as well as the customers from our partners' networks."
Dr. Young-Chu Cho, president and CEO of KTF, commented, "This alliance is expected to greatly contribute in providing high-quality seamless mobile services to customers in the AP region. It will also facilitate the more rapid introduction of advanced 3G services across the region. KTF will provide its best efforts to the success of the alliance and delivering best user experience for our customers."
Masao Nakamura, president and CEO of DoCoMo, commented, "DoCoMo is delighted to form this alliance with the leading mobile operators in this region. We are confident that working together with the alliance partners will enable us to not only enhance each partner's corporate value, profitability and competitiveness, but also provide the highest levels of customer satisfaction by enhancing seamless mobile services. DoCoMo is looking forward to contributing to the success of this alliance by offering the best services and experience for all customers combined."
Hasnul Suhaimi, president director of Indosat, commented, "By joining the alliance as a cellular-focused telecommunications and information service provider in Indonesia, we expect to deliver the latest technology and global access for our customers and Asian roamers as well. Subscribers will benefit from a vast network while they are roaming, and also enjoy value-added services like those back home."
Terry Clontz, president and CEO of StarHub, said, "StarHub sees this alliance as a powerful way to accelerate the creation and implementation of enhanced mobile products and services for customers by leveraging the collective scale, footprint, and experience of its members. It also allows StarHub to fully explore business opportunities together with other members. This will enhance each member's competitive positioning within their respective markets, particularly with corporate customers."