RealTime IT News

UMTS Won't Reach German Customers Until 2004

According to one projection, the new UMTS mobile communications standard -- also known as WCDMA -- won't reach Germany for another three years.

The news magazine "Focus" has reported in advance that this prognosis by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein -- Dresdner Bank's investment arm -- is in distinct contradiction to previous industry statements that indicated UMTS would be launched next year.

Network expansion won't start until 2002, and the corresponding UMTS mobile phones will reach the German market at the end of 2003 at the earliest. "UMTS won't reach the mass market until 2004," foresees Wolfram Petzinger, head of the investment bank's telecommunications department.

The new standard should make it possible to transmit images and videos via mobile phone. In addition to the high license fees, the six UMTS companies also have to pay another 5 billion German marks each for the construction of the network. These are costs that would leave a bad taste in the mouths of certain foreign parent companies in particular, according to the projection.

Group 3G, a Munich-based license holder (Telefonica/Sonera) also still does not have a contract with a network supplier, and up to now, Mobilcom has only signed declarations of intent with two network suppliers. According to inside information from the Telekom subsidiary T-Mobil, this new forecast is "dramatic" in light of its initial public offering planned for 2002.

Up to now, it has been assumed that UMTS would be launched in two years.