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Bluetooth group ramps up mobile efforts

As the wireless technology matures, the Bluetooth SIG is focusing on mobile network operators for new business.
As the wireless technology matures, the Bluetooth SIG is focusing on mobile network operators for new business.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the international consortium in charge of certification and promotion of Bluetooth wireless technology, has begun a strategic repositioning, the group said on Tuesday.

Bluetooth is a cable-replacement technology aimed at eliminating the wires that connect mobile phones, PDAs, PCs, peripherals and other devices. Some have described it as the wireless equivalent of the PC's ubiquitous USB connectors.

Until now, the SIG has centred its efforts on the manufacturers of Bluetooth-enabled devices such as mobile phones, handheld computers and PCs, but from now on it will be targeting mobile network operators. The announcement was made at this week's 3GSM World Congress wireless trade show in Cannes, France.

"Through their distribution channels, telecoms operators put a very large number of mobile phones on the market," explained Anders Edlund, marketing director of the Bluetooth SIG. "The mobile phone has the highest sales volume of any Bluetooth device, far higher than the PDA. We want to promote Bluetooth products to the operators so that they pass the demand along to their subscribers, and create even greater demand."

To that end the SIG is launching a marketing campaign aimed at most major network operators around the world, for which the budget was not disclosed.

The group has also created a section of its Web site devoted to operators, which includes industry reports, white papers, customer testimonials and press releases.

"We are above all concentrating on the development of our operator relationships," Edlund said.

Other efforts include a new Bluetooth profile for hands-free use, which allows a driver to make a phone call without taking his hands off the wheel.

Last month the SIG announced a plan to make Bluetooth easier for consumers to set up -- the "five-minute ready" plan. The SIG said that the 1,000th Bluetooth device recently hit the market, in the form of Motorola's MMM7400 Wireless RF Data Transceiver module.

The group is also opening new offices aimed at strengthening operator relationships. In France, for example, the SIG has opened offices in Paris and Grenoble, employing ten people who will liaise with the three major French networks.

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