M1: HSDPA to target consumers first

Enterprises adoption of "Super 3G" is likely to come through data services, an industry analyst adds.

SINGAPORE--It may still be early days before enterprises warm up to high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) services, according to a local mobile operator.

MobileOne (M1) will initially target its HSDPA services, dubbed "Super 3G", at young adults who download music and video clips, said Sharon Tan, the company's director of consumer marketing. The Singapore cellphone operator launched commercial HSDPA services last month with data services.

"But, I don't see a problem with enterprises adopting [HSDPA], depending on the applications," Tan said, during the launch of South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung's first HSDPA-based handset this morning in Singapore.

The lack of mobile enterprise applications is an oft-cited reason for the lukewarm reception among businesses, to mobile broadband technology such as 3G (Third Generation) and HSDPA.

Many mobile applications are still centered on consumers, Navin Mehta, Motorola's vice president said recently. He added, however, that telcos are starting to recognize that they need to target enterprises to sustain their investments in the long run.

According to analyst and consulting company Ovum, HSDPA will remain a data card market for enterprises until 2008--the projected time when HSDPA will truly take off, thanks to more widely available handsets.

Julien Grivolas, a wireless technology analyst at Ovum, said in a statement: "In the initial stages, operators will focus their launches on business use through laptops via data cards."

Nonetheless, Ovum expects HSDPA to deliver on the promises of 3G, since it only requires a software upgrade of an existing 3G infrastructure. "By 2008, it's very likely that most [3G] operators throughout the world will have deployed it," Grivolas said.

According to telecoms consultancy Informa Telecoms and Media, as of end-November this year, there are 74 HSPDA networks in operation worldwide.

World's first HSDPA handset
Samsung today launched the world's first HSDPA handset in Singapore--the SGH-Z560--and the first consumer trial of HSDPA phones with M1, targeting 200 consumers. The one-month trial period will begin from Dec. 19.

Trial participants will have access to M1's mobile portal that has customized services to suit higher download speeds and exclusive mobile content, such as local drama serials.

Ng Long Shyang, Samsung Asia's director of sales and marketing for telecommunications and IT products, told ZDNet Asia that while the company has not focused much on enterprise customers this year, it will do so in 2007 with the 3G version of its BlackJack smartphone.

Last Friday, maker of BlackBerry devices Research In Motion (RIM) filed a lawsuit against Samsung, claiming that Samsung's use of the "BlackJack" name "constitutes false designation of origin, unfair competition and trademark dilution". Ng declined to comment on the lawsuit.