Telecom equipment makers join Bridge Mobile Alliance

The Bridge Mobile Alliance has signed up three telecom equipment vendors as associate members.

The Bridge Mobile Alliance, a group of Asian mobile operators, has enlisted a trio of telecommunication equipment makers as associate members, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The three vendors -- Motorola, Ericsson, and China's ZTE -- are the first companies that are not mobile carriers to join the alliance, said Linda Loh, a spokeswoman for the group in Singapore.

The Bridge Mobile Alliance was established as part of a joint venture, Bridge Mobile, created in 2004 by seven Asia-Pacific carriers: Taiwan Mobile, Bharti Tele-Ventures of India, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, Maxis Telecommunications of Malaysia, SingTel Optus of Australia, Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), and PT Telkomsel of Indonesia.

The joint venture was created to improve regional mobile services, including roaming and data services, offered by the members.

An eighth carrier, Hong Kong CSL, joined the group in April, bringing the total number of subscribers served by alliance members to more than 64 million.

Together, these companies pledged to invest a total of US$40 million over three years in the joint venture.

As associate members, Motorola, Ericsson and ZTE are not shareholders in the joint venture and will not invest in the alliance, Loh said. That means they will be able to participate in forums and conferences with alliance members to exchange product and technology roadmaps, but it doesn't mean they will necessarily sell more equipment to alliance members, she said.

"Just because they are our members that doesn't mean they are our preferred vendors," Loh said.

In the future, the Bridge Mobile Alliance hopes to enlist the participation of other equipment vendors, Loh said, noting the group has held talks with several other vendors.

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