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Big names team up on 3G

Both Toshiba and Mitsubishi have confirmed that they are considering taking on a partner to share the cost of developing 3G mobile phones.

"The industry itself is shifting towards the trend of each (handset) maker tying up with another, as the speed of developments is accelerating," said Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba. "Within this trend, Toshiba is still considering whether we should find a partner or keep working on our own."

The Japanese media reported on 6 March that Toshiba and Mitsubishi are close to reaching an agreement to jointly develop technology for 3G handsets. Toshiba will reportedly be in charge of the development of wireless network technologies while Mitsubishi develops 3G-related technologies.

Suzuki did not deny the possibility that Toshiba might partner with Mitsubishi Electric.

For Mitsubishi, a 3G-related partnership is one possibility for the company's mobile phone business, said a Mitsubishi spokesman. "Nothing has been decided yet about which company or what kind of partnership."

The industry can expect more 3G joint ventures. For example, last August NEC and Matsushita (Panasonic) announced an alliance that has already started work on developing 3G technologies. Fujitsu has also entered into a 3G development partnership with French company Sagem.

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