Alcatel unveiled a range of mobile devices at Cebit today, but bucked the trend of other mobile manufacturers by revealing that it has no plans to enter the general packet radio service (GPRS) market.
The French telecoms giant will introduce a Wap-enabled GSM phone, called the One Touch View, in April, but said it remains cautious over launching GPRS-enabled phones until at least next year.
Alcatel president Jacques Combet said the company will instead concentrate on the GSM market and will aim to increase its worldwide market share from eight per cent to 10 per cent by the end of this year.
"We will not introduce GPRS handsets until at least 2001," he said. "It is too early as the bandwidth isn't there yet. We want to offer Wap services for all. Support for GPRS services will require a huge memory, which makes it more expensive."
The number of time slots that are used to transmit data are still not functional for full GPRS services, said Combet.
Alcatel said it is targeting the UK market, admitting that its market share in the UK is not big. The company is working with Virgin and One2One, and hopes to close deals with UK mobile operators this year.
Alcatel also announced plans to introduce Bluetooth based features in its devices by the end of this year. Bluetooth, a standard for wireless local area communications, has a range of up to 10 metres and allows devices equipped with a transceiver chip to communicate data at rates up to 1Mbit per second.
The One Touch 300 mobile phone range will be launched this summer. One Touch 500 and 700 models will be released in September and October. These devices have a light battery, an organiser that can be synchronised with a user's PC, voice features, and provide Wap and Bluetooth based features.
Alcatel also revealed that it is in negotiations with mobile network operators to OEM its end-to-end positioning technology, Measurement Result software. The technology enables access to location based services to users of its handsets.
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