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Hutchison Whampoa, Motorola Sign US$700m 3G Contract

Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Group and Motorola have signed a contract worth more than US$700 million to jointly produce 3G solutions through to end-2003.

Specifically, the companies will work on 3G devices that will operate on GSM, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) wireless networks, and allow for seamless transitioning among 2, 2.5 and 3G systems.

"Our agreement is important, both in monetary terms and in what it means for the industry. Bringing 3G to market in 2002 is a challenge that will require an unprecedented level of cooperation among infrastructure providers, solutions developers, Hutchison and us," said Mike Zafirovski, president of Motorola's Personal Communications Sector.

"With Motorola's technology leadership, Hutchison's superior service and understanding of the consumer, and with a strong partnership with Hutchison's infrastructure and solutions providers, we believe we have the right formula to bring 3G services to the market."

Hutchison operates five core businesses in 34 countries: ports and related services; telecoms and e-commerce; property and hotels; retail and manufacturing; and energy and infrastructure. Its consolidated turnover (including associates) last year was more than US$10 billion, and consolidated net profit was about US$4.4 billion.

As part of the agreement, Motorola was named as Hutchison's preferred supplier of 3G devices in its key markets, which include Australia, Austria, Italy, Sweden and the U.K. Motorola expects to deliver the devices by Q3 of 2002.

Said Canning Fok, Group managing director of Hutchison Whampoa, "This agreement ensures we will have customized devices to launch 3G service in 2002 in all our markets, as planned. Once there are mass volumes of devices in the market, 3G will become a reality."

According to company officials, the 3G devices will support third-party applications and a slew of multimedia capabilities, such as 'live' news broadcasts, music on demand, multimedia messaging, interactive games, instant access to area-specific information, remote surveillance and mobile e-commerce.