Asian mobile carriers to link for roaming

A group of seven Asian mobile phone network operators are teaming up to provide comprehensive roaming services to their estimated 100 million customers, the companies announced Monday.

Provisionally called the Asia Pacific Mobile Alliance, the group includes Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. in Taiwan; Hutchison Essar Ltd. in India; Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Ltd. in Hong Kong; Macau; KT Freetel Co., Ltd. in South Korea; NTT DoCoMo, Inc. in Japan; PT Indosat Tbk in Indonesia; and StarHub Ltd. in Singapore.

The establishment of the alliance is intended to create standardized voice and data services for customers, including home area-like access to voicemail, caller ID and customer support, over GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and WCDMA (Wide Code Division Multiple Access) networks. The roaming services will go into effect in the second half of the year, the companies said.

The grouping may be a reaction to a similar alliance formed last year. Bridge Mobile Alliance launched in June 2005 with eight mobile providers, including CSL Hong Kong Ltd., Globe Telecom Inc. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., and a combined subscriber base of 64 million.

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