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Old 10-04-2004, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [10-04-2004] Mobile leader in deal to offer Blackberry

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China Mobile (Hong Kong), the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, has signed an agreement with Canada's Research in Motion (RIM) to distribute the Blackberry line of wireless products and services on the mainland, a move that may help it slow a decline in revenue per user.

The deal could give RIM, which has a tie-up with Hutchison Telecom and CSL in Hong Kong, access to the mainland's 315 million mobile subscribers.

RIM's flagship Blackberry products allow users to access their electronic mail accounts using wireless technology, and have about 1.6 million users worldwide.

``This is a good opportunity for Blackberry to gain a foothold in the China market,'' CLSA head of telecom research Francis Cheung said. ``There should be good demand for wireless data services from corporate users.''

However, the success of Blackberry on the mainland will depend on the pricing structure, he said, adding that demand has been hit by the high licensing fees for the Blackberry server software in Hong Kong.

China Mobile had over 191 million subscribers at the end of August.

Half-year sales this year increased 13 per cent to 86.4 billion yuan (HK$81.41 billion) from the same period last year, with net profits rising 8 per cent to 18.8 billion yuan.

Fierce price competition for voice services had driven average revenue per user (Arpu) down to 96 yuan per month from 104 yuan a year earlier.

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