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Fujitsu and Sagem to jointly develop 3G handsets

Japan's Fujitsu and France's Sagem have announced they will jointly develop basic technologies for 3G (third-generation) handsets.

The two companies will work on developing dual-mode 3G handsets, which will be compatible with the current European GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile communication/General Packet Radio Service) and the 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network systems.

Under this alliance, Fujitsu will develop software applications for the handsets in Japan, and Sagem will take charge in the development of the dual-mode hardware for the phones. By the end of 2003, the two companies plan to complete the joint development and to conduct trials for international 3G roaming in Japan and Europe.

Fujitsu does not currently operate in Europe's mobile handset market, so through the partnership with Sagem it will gain technical know-how on GSM/GPRS network systems, which are different from the current 2G network systems in Japan.

Fujitsu will focus on development of 3G handsets, which will also be compatible with GSM/GPRS network systems, said Toshiaki Koike, a spokesman for Fujitsu. The handsets are expected to be rolled out from Japan's largest mobile telecommunication carrier NTT DoCoMo.

Sagem expects to accelerate the development time on its new products by using Fujitsu's software technologies on its handsets.

In the mobile phone industry, where technologies are getting more and more sophisticated, establishing partnerships cuts the time and cost of developments. NEC and Matsushita Industrial Electric, the largest and second-largest mobile handset makers in Japan, signed an alliance last year to work together on design and development of advanced handsets and terminals for 3G.

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