China Telecom in early talks with RIM
China Telecom Corp. said Thursday it is in "preliminary contacts" with Research In Motion Ltd. to offer Blackberry devices in China.
China Telecom, China's largest fixed-line operator by subscribers, has been striving to introduce more handset models to drive its newly acquired mobile business from China Unicom Ltd. in October.
Chief Executive Wang Xiaochu said last month the company plans to launch 30 new third-generation mobile phone models between June and August, with Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. among the suppliers of the handsets.
Analysts said the Blackberry is just "another handset choice," which shouldn't have much positive impact on China Telecom's mobile operation.
China Mobile Ltd. has been offering the Blackberry for years, but the device, which facilitates quick mobile email communications, it isn't popular among Chinese customers, said Daiwa Securities analyst Marvin Lo.
If China Telecom offers heavy subsidies on the high-end Blackberry devices, it would hurt the company's profitability in the short term, analysts said.
Lo said the Blackberry is likely to serve a niche market comprising multinational companies in China.
"Indeed local Chinese prefer short-message service, or SMS, to email as a way of communications," he said.
"I don't think this data-oriented device can be a big hit in China."
Lo maintained his hold rating and HK$3.43 price target on the stock.
Источник: Total Telecom
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