by CIO Staff

Taiwan Mobile Operators Prep BlackBerry Defenses

Jul 17, 20062 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

Taiwanese mobile phone service providers are preparing push e-mail services to compete with BlackBerry, which is expected to arrive on the island later this summer.

Research In Motion (RIM) announced last month it will team up with Taiwan Mobile to launch its popular BlackBerry service in Taiwan. Since then, a host of mobile phone companies from the island have been laying defenses to counter the service.

Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications, which has more third generation (3G) users—900,000—than any other company in Taiwan, plans to offer push e-mail later this year. It’s been selling new handsets such as Motorola’s V3C and Samsung’s X969 for the service at the Taipei Telecom 2006 trade show, which ends Monday.

“We’ll have our push e-mail service up by the fourth quarter,” said Frank Wang, spokesman for Asia Pacific. He declined to offer details of the system his company plans to use.

Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest mobile phone service provider, has taken a different tack. It teamed up with local handset vendor Dopod International to develop a handset with PDA functions, the CTH9000. It runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 software, which provides push e-mail functionality.

“We’ve sold so many of them that we ran out of them here at the show, but we still have more at other locations,” said Evon Lu, a spokeswoman for Chunghwa Telecom. The handset came out late last month.

The orientation of text and menus on the screen can be changed so that they still appear the right way up when the phone is turned sideways. This position also makes it easy to use the qwerty keypad that can be slid out from under the phone.

Vibo Telecom has worked with Nokia and uses a Nokia E61 PDA/handset with the Symbian OS for its push e-mail service.

“The system was ready in May, and now we have the handsets. Customers can start using the system now,” said Vivian Lin, a spokeswoman for Vibo.

The last major 3G telecom operator in Taiwan, Far EasTone Telecommunications, opened its push mail service in June of last year. Mailgene Plus works on dozens of smart phones and supports Windows and the Symbian OS, the company said.

-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)

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