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Siemens eyes bigger pie of handsets space — Rolls out 6 new models; in marketing pact with Tech Pacific

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Mr Juergen Schubert, MD, Siemens Ltd, India, (2nd from left) and Mr Lothar Pauly, board member, Siemens Information & Communication Mobile, Siemens AG, with models at the launch of the new range of mobile phones in the Capital on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI, May 21

GERMAN telecom major, Siemens, has announced plans to expand its handsets market share in the country. It has unveiled as many as six new models. It has also signed an agreement with the biggest IT wholesaler in the country — Tech Pacific, to rollout a nationwide sales and service distribution network of over 3,00 retail outlets over the next couple of weeks.

Announcing this, Mr Lothar Pauly, Board Member of Siemens Mobile, said that the company had narrowed down on India as the most important market in Asia after China, within only a few years. For this reason, Siemens' wireless communications division will significantly expand its activities in the region.

In addition to entry-level A55 phone, the mobile manufacturer will also be selling high-end phones such as the SL55, S55, CL 50, M55 and the SX1 smartphone.

Several devices are equipped with Hindi-language menu and with this broad portfolio the company intended to serve all target groups, Mr Pauly noted.

He pointed out that along with the launch of a new product range for handsets, Siemens was also looking at expanding its research and development site at Bangalore. The site had been given the global lead for the development of GSM and 3G/UMTS network software.

The number of engineers employed there would be increased from 400 to 500, he said.

``Bangalore is one of the top development locations worldwide for Siemens mobile. And it will be getting even more responsibility in the future: We're going to develop software here for location-based services and multimedia applications that will then be employed in GSM and 3G/UMTS networks throughout the world. This means India is making a major contribution to our strategy of sparking the market as a supplier of end-to-end solutions,'' explained Mr Pauly.

As a partner to mobile operators, Siemens is also embracing close partnerships with all major GSM providers including Bharti, Hutchison- Essar, BSNL, BPL, Spice and ADIL.

In fiscal 2002, Siemens supplied GSM infrastructure valued at more than Euro 100 million to India. In addition to being the number two in the core network segment, it plans to also win significant market share as a supplier to radio networks.

Siemens also saw sales opportunities in the projects of GSM-Railway, GSM-R, the wireless communication platform for rail traffic, he said.

"With a total of 63,000 km of rail line, India has one of the world's largest rail systems, which is to be equipped with GSM-R. The main purpose of this GSM technology version is to increase the safety of Indian rail traffic. Siemens Mobile is the world market leader in GSM-R", he noted.

Commenting on the market characteristics, Mr Juergen Schubert, Managing Director, Siemens Ltd, India said, "The competitive environment and the pricing structure has created a pull for mobile services in a huge way.

"The progressive tariff reduction and introduction of several benefits have supported growth in this segment. What was unaffordable has suddenly become affordable. Having thoroughly checked and understood the market dynamics and developments, from today, the business gets a new thrust".

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