Hong Kong to get a million videophones

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Hong Kong to get a million videophones

Hutchison Whampoa, which plans to launch third-generation (3G) mobile phone services in Hong Kong in 2002, has ordered a million videophone handsets from NEC.

Under the terms of the deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, NEC will begin delivering the handsets in late 2002, the companies said in a joint statement.

Hutchison Whampoa jointly owns Hutchison 3G, one of Hong Kong's four licensed 3G operators, with Japan's NTT DoCoMo. The latter launched the world's first commercial 3G service in Tokyo in October, and offers NEC's videophone handset as one of three models available.

The devices delivered to Hutchison will differ from those currently sold in Japan, which only support the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access system, NEC said.

The handsets will be compatible with the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and General Packet Radio Service formats, which means they could be used in countries that have second-generation GSM networks.

DoCoMo's handsets can only be used around Tokyo, the only part of Japan where the carrier has a 3G network.

Like the Japanese handsets, the Hong Kong models will be based on the folding design that has proved popular with Japanese consumers, and will feature support for small Java applets.

The order follows NEC's appointment earlier this year as a supplier of 3G equipment to Hutchison-linked networks around the world. The deal, announced in August, holds the potential for NEC handsets eventually to be supplied to operators in the UK, Australia, Austria and Sweden.

More information
Hutchison Whampoa: www.hutchison-whampoa.com
NEC: www.nec-global.com

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