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Issue #2003 - 28 (November 2003)
(Updated Nov. 4, 2003)


3G News This Week

1. Europe's 3G (UMTS) Plans Become More Certain
A number of recent announcements point towards a more assured future for 3G networks based on UMTS in Europe. The following announcements are noteworthy:

  • Orange of UK has hinted at 3G UMTS implementation in UK and France by 2004 third quarter, to be followed by Belgium and Switzerland son after - at least that is what the company is saying. There might be a gap between the cup and the lip, though. Orange France will roll out 3G services at the same time as the U.K. subsidiary, while Belgium and Switzerland will launch in the fourth quarter of 2004.
  • KPN (Dutch carrier) is planning several customer UMTS pilots - The Hague City Council, Siemens Netherlands, the Rotterdam Port Management. A more widespread deplyment is likely by mid 2004.
  • Spanish carrier - Telefònica Mòviles España plans to provide 3G coverage in "52 provincial capitals in Spain" by the end of 2003 as part of a pre-commercial launch, prior to a full launch in 2004. This plan entails 1,100 base stations in operation, with between 7,000 and 8,000 deployed by 2005. Earlier this year the carrier announced its intention to invest €1 billion (about US$1.17 billion) on 3G infrastructure in the next three years.

Of course, Hutchison has already launched 3G in UK.

2. Analysys Continues to Cast Shadow on 3G Future in Europe
Vodafone continues to delay its 3G deployment till it runs out of GPRS capacity. Analysys expects only 1.3 million UMTS subscribers by the end of 2003 and only 20 million by the end of 2005.

3. Chinese Equipment vendor Huawei Throws 3G Challenge to the Established Player
Chinese equipment vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. launched its UMTS 3G base station at Telecom World 2003 recently. Huawei is hoping to match its western rivals technically and win carrier contracts in the domestic Chinese market but overseas as well.

Readers may remember that Huawei made significant waves in the fixed line WAN arena by aggressively pricing its products against Cisco. The company has struck a deal with 3COM.

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: We have always stated that 3G UMTS will happen in due course - slowly but steadily. The timing will be dictated by carrier's CAPEX plan, subscribers uptake of these services and depletion of carriers' capacity of already deployed 2.5G GSM/GPRS networks. That time has come in Europe now. Deployment will speed up in late 2004 onwards and in 2005 and 2006. Vodafone is keeping its plans to the chest but will let the world know about its 3G UMTS plans in due course. Its new CEO is taking a cautious approach to conserve its cash.

Huawei is a company to watch. It will introduce much-desired competition. We expect Cisco to respond aggressively when it starts hurting. Right now, it is market posturing and Cisco is not hurting.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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