Hong Kong mobile network operator SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings said it has signed an exclusive agreement with Japan’s Sanyo Electric to develop 3G handsets for Hong Kong customers. The first Sanyo 3G handset exclusive to SmarTone, SX813, will be available in early 2005, but the two companies will introduce more models in 2005, said Sanyo Electric Senior Officer Takenori Ugari. SmarTone and Sanyo didn’t reveal the price nor the number of handsets to be sold under their agreement.
“SmarTone is a leading mobile operator in multimedia services in Hong Kong and is committed to delivering real value to customers,” Ugari said at a press briefing. “This strategic collaboration with SmarTone is the latest addition to our key cooperation with leading operators in the world on 3G handsets,” he added.
Currently, Sanyo plans to launch six new models of 3G handsets in 2005 in the global market. The handsets operate on wideband code division multiple access, or W-CDMA, the 3G technology standard that is used in Europe. Sanyo’s Ugari said the company has an annual production capacity of three million 3G handsets.
Just last week, the Osaka-based consumer electronics maker said it will begin supplying 3G phones to Orange, the mobile telecommunications arm of France Telecom SA (FTE). It said it’s also holding talks with several European operators on possible handset supply deals, without disclosing any names.
Sanyo already supplies 3G phones to the Japanese unit of Vodafone Group Plc, but it hasn’t shipped handsets to the U.K. mobile phone service giant in Europe. It expects to ship 1 million mobile phones to Europe in the fiscal year starting April, thanks partly to its deal with Orange. Via: Cellular-News.com.