Reap­ing the dig­i­tal div­i­dend

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - CHIMWEMWE MWANZA

SAG­GING CELL­PHONE SALES and a di­min­ish­ing brand pres­ence in the mar­ket have re­cently char­ac­terised tele­coms equip­ment and mo­bile phone maker Mo­torola. Its lat­est sales fig­ures show ri­val Nokia has main­tained the top spot, fol­lowed by Sam­sung, which over­took Mo­torola at the start of the year. The gap be­tween Mo­torola and fourth­placed LG is also nar­row­ing.

Dar­ren McQueen, Mo­torola vice-pres­i­dent: wireless broad­band ac­cess tech­nolo­gies, says not only Mo­torola is strug­gling. “Only 28m hand­sets were sold to con­sumers in the United States dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of this year, re­flect­ing a 13% year-on-year de­cline. With the US econ­omy said to be in re­ces­sion it’s been dif­fi­cult for most com­pa­nies.”

McQueen is bank­ing on Mo­torola’s planned launch of a slew of new data tech­nolo­gies early next year to get it out of the dol­drums. The com­pany has just com­pleted data test ses­sions in the 700MHz spec­trum. McQueen says the prod­uct’s launch will be a mile­stone, for a num­ber of rea­sons – the first be­ing that 700Mhz is part of the so-called “dig­i­tal div­i­dend”. The dig­i­tal div­i­dend is spec­trum in the 470 to 862MHz bands freed by the switch from ana­logue to dig­i­tal TV.

The sec­ond rea­son is that it shows Mo­torola’s progress in de­vel­op­ing com­mer­cial LTE so­lu­tions, a GSM in­dus­try stan­dard tak­ing 3G tech­nol­ogy into the fu­ture. “The dig­i­tal div­i­dend is viewed by mo­bile op­er­a­tors in the US, Europe and much of the rest of the world as a valu­able re­source as ex­ist­ing and new mo­bile broad­band net­works quickly con­sume cur­rent spec­trum al­lo­ca­tions.

McQueen says those of­fer­ings are sure to be a hit in emerg­ing mar­kets where broad­band is scarce.

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