Kyocera Electronics attacks local mobiles market

Kyocera Electronics Australia, better known for its laser printers, is preparing to mount an attack on the local mobile telecommunications market with an official launch expected mid-February.

According to James Houston, newly appointed business development manager, cellular, Kyocera's move into the mobile telephony space marks the company's first step to adopting a strong IT&T focus in Australia.

The company announced last week its appointment of Houston -- formerly of Optus -- to establish and manage the new division.

Houston said Kyocera is aiming to have five mobile product offerings available to users in Australia by early 2000. Iridium satellite-based products will be launched first followed by GSM, AMPS and CDMA offerings, Houston told Computerworld.

With an official launch planned for February, Houston said he expects Kyocera to become well known in the mobile telecommunications market by March or April.

Houston said the launch in Australia of Kyocera's new mobile division coincides with a push in mobile services across the globe.

"Kyocera has and will be launching globally in 1999 in Europe, Southeast Asia and the US. We are really setting up the mobile telephone divisions at the same time," Houston said.

Although Kyocera's namesake parent company is well known for its other divisions, such as ceramics and electronics, the company has a strong heritage in telecommunications and has long been a player in the mobile telephony industry with technology breakthroughs in designer handsets and voice recognition, he said.

The company is a major shareholder in DDI, Japan's largest private telcommunications company, and has been working with Motorola and Iridium for sometime.

Kyocera will draw from its Japanese experiences as well as use its alliance with Iridium to launch on the world stage, Houston said.

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