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UMTS Forum opens the 3G World Congress and advocates the benefits of W-CDMA for Asia PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 November 2003

The UMTS Forum, the trade body promoting the global uptake of UMTS third generation mobile services, today stressed the benefits of W-CDMA 3G technology for the Asian market. The UMTS Forum also summarised the key UMTS 3G milestones to date and outlined the significant opportunities which lie ahead.

Opening the 3G World Congress, hosted in Bangkok by IIR Asia, Jean-Pierre Bienaim, chairman of the UMTS Forum addressed the issue of returns on investment from 3G. He stated that UMTS is a "medium term" business opportunity, rather than an overnight revenue generator, and that 3G players should not be discouraged in the short term. He also urged that Asian countries yet to make their licensing decisions would benefit from timely licensing so they do not miss out on the global UMTS opportunity.

Bienaim went on to emphasise the significance of the potential of UMTS for Asian markets and stressed that with their strong reputation for software development they can leverage the huge addressable customer base for mobile services and applications, providing a valuable export opportunity for Asian IPRs.

"UMTS is already a reality in Asia with both NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone KK (formerly J-Phone) having launched their respective offerings. NTT DoCoMo now has over one million subscribers to its FOMA service and this number is growing every day. During 2003 we saw a number of service launches in Europe, as well as Australia, with Hutchison's 3 leading the evolution from GSM to UMTS. We expect to see even more launches throughout 2004/05.

"W-CDMA allows operators to build on the investments already made in GSM, the world's most popular 2G technology choice with almost 1 billion GSM customers worldwide. This means economies of scale for manufacturers, increased roaming revenues for operators and the largest choice of cost-effective terminals for end users." Beinaim stated.

Bienaim also covered the issue of spectrum and stated that UMTS has far greater capacity to support voice and high-speed data at a far lower cost than that of 2G, which in some countries is beginning to run out. 3G will open up new globally harmonised spectrum of which industry players can take full advantage.

It is predicted that W-CDMA customers will hit the two million mark at the end of 2003, showing that despite a relatively slow start subscriber figures are now starting to pick up. These figures represent a much faster growth than that of GSM within the same timeframe.

Also speaking at the event was Josef Huber, vice chairman of the UMTS Forum, who discussed the business models required for each service category from mobile internet access to infotainment and messaging to mixed real-time and non real-time services.

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