Japan's Matsushita plans to tie up with Ericsson
Japan's giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. group said Thursday it is planning to join forces with Ericsson of Sweden in a third generation (3G) mobile phone venture.
The duo aim to jointly market their W-CDMA (wideband code division multiple access) technology to European telecommunications providers, a spokesman said.
"The two companies have a plan for co-marketing in Europe but nothing has been decided yet," said Matsushita spokesman Akira Kadota.
The two companies have to check whether Ericsson's infrastructure facilities and Panasonic's phones can be connected to each other, Kadota said.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun earlier reported Matsushita will supply its cellular phones under the name of Panasonic while Ericsson will be in charge of providing telecommunications infrastructure.
Matsushita also markets its products under the names of Quasar, National and Technics.
Japan's mobile communications giant NTT DoCoMo Inc has picked Panasonic to supply W-CDMA technology, said Kadota. DoCoMo has also previously struck an agreement with Ericcson on the technology.
"Panasonic and DoCoMo are currently negotiating in order to start next generation (services) in Japan in May 2001," the spokesman added.
To feed soaring demand for the new technology, Matsushita separately planned to build a plant in Eastern Europe to produce 3G mobile phones, he said.
"But details such as capacity, investment and location have not been decided yet."
The Japanese company was to invest four to five billion yen ($37.4 to $46.7 million) in the new factory, the Nihon Keizai business daily reported.
The high-speed W-CDMA technology will make it global debut in Japan next May and is scheduled to enter Europe in 2002.
Matsushita and Ericsson aimed to strengthen their ties in the European market to create a springboard to extend their market share in other regions, the Nikkei report said.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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