Samsung Electronics Enters Internet Phone Market

Samsung Electronics wants to capture at least one-fifth of the global market for Internet phones and it will start the ball rolling by shipping 20,000 units of its IP-based model ITP-100 to U.S. shores by the end of this year.

The Korean manufacturer expects at least 20 percent of the world’s corporate telephone systems to be replaced by IP-based Internet phones. The VoIP function of such phones, when connected to a LAN, ADSL modem or other high-speed networks, enables the transmission of voice and data over a single line.

Samsung also envisions that long distance and international calls can be made at local call rates with the use of the Internet, shaving off up to 70 percent in phone charges.

Targeted at the mid- to low-end market, the phone is expected to retail for about US$300. There are three models available:

* High-end (six LCD lines): U$500
* Mid-end (three LCD lines): U$350
* Low-end (No LCD or one LCD line): US$200-250

According to a Samsung spokesperson, the Internet phone will start shipping in September this year — but only to the U.S. market. The company has formed an agreement with Lucent Technologies to supply such phones to U.S. customers.

Samsung plans to export 20,000 units by end-2001, followed by 150,000 in 2002 and eventually at least one million units by 2004. It intends to eventually capture at least 20 percent of the world’s Internet phone market.

The spokesperson added that Samsung will monitor the North American response to its Internet phone, which will help determine when the company will introduce it to Asian markets. Details for shipment into Asia “are not finalized as yet,” she said.

“Shipments of the Internet phone to the region are in the pipeline, and will depend on variables such as negotiations and tests with telecommunication operators and market conditions,” a company statement read.

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