Alcatel confident of 3G market potential in Taiwan

By Richard Pearson,The China Post

In the rush to establish a Third Generation (3G) mobile Internet network presence in Taiwan, French telecom giant Alcatel SA feels confident they have established a firm position, indicated company executives. Their confidence comes despite recent comments calling into question consumer demand for 3G technology. According to statements made by company, the regional recovery following the Asian economic crisis has “spurred heavy investment in telecommunications infrastructure across the region” greatly increasing the company’s business. Alcatel has, according to statements, made mobile communications one of the key aspects of its regional growth strategy. Alcatel is, said Ronald Spithill, Asia Pacific regional president, “a dominant supplier” in the region. 3G technology, which follows 2G technology, facilitates high speed multimedia access and improves the quality of services available to users. The technology has attracted the attention of major telecom companies around the world. Companies such as Nokia, Siemens, Motorola, and Lucent, as well as Alcatel, have poured money into obtaining the 3G licenses required by host countries as well as building the appropriate infrastructure. 3G licenses are few and very expensive, however many telecommunications companies continue to invest billions of dollars into obtaining 3G licenses.

In May Alcatel announced the establishment of a joint venture with Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. to produce and develop 3G mobile telecommunications. The venture has, according to the companies, allowed them to capture 20 percent, or roughly US$2.5 billion of the global 3G market.

Recent comments by analysts however have called into question the value of 3G technology to most consumers. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Rajeev Gupta, a Goldman Sachs Internet analyst, doubts consumers’ interest in and acceptance of 3G saying that most find 2G suitable for their needs.