Optus joins Asian mobile alliance

Seven mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific region have teamed up in a joint venture, Bridge Mobile, to deliver regional mobile services to their subscribers, the group said Wednesday.

Bridge Mobile will oversee the Bridge Mobile Alliance, which includes seven operators with a total of 56 million subscribers from seven countries: Singapore, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan and Indonesia. The group will be the largest joint-venture for mobile operators in Asia-Pacific, it said.

The operators involved are Optus, Taiwan Cellular, Bharti Televenture of India, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, Maxis Telecommunications of Malaysia, Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), and PT Telkomsel of Indonesia.

Based in Singapore, Bridge Mobile will begin operation during the first quarter of 2005 and will introduce a suite of services, including improved voice and data roaming services, for multinational corporations and other large companies, it said.

Bridge Mobile will operate as a "commercial vehicle" for the seven operators to jointly invest in mobile infrastructure and a common service platform, it said. The company will also develop new products and services and hopes eventually to serve a combined subscriber base of 300 million, it said.

To achieve these goals, the companies plan to invest up to US$40 million in Bridge Mobile over the next three years.

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