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    ZTE confirms European plan


    Chinese manufacturer ZTE has said it will win deals with European operators in 2005 for handset supply and for 3G WCDMA and CDMA equipment.

    Although the vendor was unable to announce any contracts yet with European operators, aside from a trial in Spain with Telefonica, ZTE said it would be taking its 3G technology on the road, highlighting its three new W-CDMA handsets and v.3 WCDMA network infrastructure.
    The vendor announced four new WCDMA products — three handsets and a PC data card. One of the these, the F808 was billed as the world’s smallest WCDMA handset. Not as trivial a differentiator as it might sound in a market which has seen consumers turned off by some clunky models.
    Handset size apart it is still price upon which ZTE, like fellow country vendor Huawei, is competing in the market. Although the company played coy on the price of its handsets, it confirmed to Mobile Europe that it would be significantly cheaper than European and US rivals in terms of network equipment.
    “We are very competitive,” spokesman Cheng Lin said, “It’s a native advantage of being a Chinese company that we are used to price competition.” There’s also the small matter of vastly lower labour costs, of course. But although Lin was happy to confirm that the company would make its first pitch on price, he said that cost alone would not be enough to win contracts. ZTE is well aware it needs to provide evidence of its ability to provide after sales service and support, and continuing product innovation, Lin said.
    But his conclusion that “Our main advantage is cost,” left it in no doubt as to what the message will be on that roadshow.
    ZTE also confirmed the identity of its OEM partner for its CDMA radio technology. To no-one’s surprise the widely leaked news that Alcatel is to include ZTE CDMA technology within its CDMA solutions was confirmed by Sylvie Richir, vp of Alcatel’s broadband access product division. Richir also said that one of the first targets for Alcatel would be the 450MHz operators in the “emerging” markets in Europe. The old analogue 450Mhz band is providing a gateway for CDMA into central and eastern Europe, and Alcatel now has a play at the radio access level.