Next Mobile partners with Nextel Philippines
() - January 20, 2003 - 12:00am
Nextel Philippines is off to a fresh start this year after Next Mobile, a consortium made up of a global team of techno entrepreneurs with the vision of introducing wireless mobile broadband services in the country, teams up with the local subsidiary of the telecommunications company.

The Velarde group, the company behind Next Mobile, has partnered with Maxwealth Consultant Ltd. to form the new consortium. With Maxwealth, Next Mobile boasts of a team of highly-skilled techno entrepreneurs with vast experience and expertise in the wireless communications industry.

"We see a huge potential for wireless mobile broadband in the Philippines. The cellular phone indeed is a precursor to what the digital revolution intends to achieve-individual and team productivity in motion. The key is to bet on a platform on which solution-based services can be delivered to a very focused market segment" Next Mobile chairman Mel Velarde said. Velarde, who currently sits as chief executive officer of Nextel, is referring to its initial offering, the mobile Internet in your Ipaq, Palm Pilot or phone. This will enable people to be connected to a network where Internet is available in a 24/7 basis, on an unlimited and fixed monthly rate basis.

Next Mobile will also introduce mobile broadband that will pave the way for a new world of mobile applications fit for business. "This will allow users full connectivity to the Internet and to their own corporate enterprise information system, allowing mobile and remote users to fully interact with their network and utilize all the applications as if they are connected by wire to their office LAN-whether for inventory control, data gathering, remote sensing, on-line tracking, file sharing, lotus notes or Microsoft Office/Outlook synchronization, sales force automation, or any business application on their network or the Internet. These are part of a new phenomenon of which customer demand will be of greater importance than for texting and voice calls; there’ll be a whole suite of services along productivity enhancement and individual empowerment," Velarde added.

Nextel’s revolutionary iDEN technology, a digital infrastructure, is the most ideal network platform; it can carry three times the number of voice calls that GSM does on any frequency spectrum allocation. With data allocated in the network, Nextel’s iDEN is actually superior to general packet radio services (GPRS). "The technology is sophisticated and an efficient platform for packet data communications," Hugh McClung, vice chairman for The Velarde group added. "With Nextel’s existing technology and infrastructure, combined with the consortium’s management team, we believe this substantial investment will benefit Filipinos in the coming years."

Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) was first introduced by Motorola in 1994. It brought to the market next generation wireless solutions designed of a variety of vertical market mobile business applications. IDEN technology with its quadruple functionality (two-way radio, phone, SMS and wireless IP-based packet data services) ideally serves the needs of the "white collar" business community, organizations, families and professionals. IDEN is fully digital and voice is carried as coded packet data.

Velarde added, "We teamed up with Nextel because its IDEN technology is the right platform for a data play. Nextel, if properly positioned not to collide with Globe’s o Smart’s voice and text services, will find its place in the data play, not texting. Key is to provide highly, really highly, differentiated services to very focused market niches, exploit iDEN’s superior technology and become profitable in the process. Nextel has extremely loyal customers. The profile of their customers, which provides a $30 US dollar ARPU (average revenue per user), creates a perfect fit with the targeted market segments for our services. Thus, the symmetry of interests is obvious," he said. Next Mobile will lead a restructuring of about $200 million that will allow Nextel Philippines to evolve into a totally new company.

"We don’t see Smart and Globe as competitors. In fact, we benefit from their brave moves to revolutionize mass communication through the cellular phone and texting. Because of them and people’s unlimited aspirations, there are enormous opportunities for niche players like ourselves. One has to be a niche player to survive. If we’re not, we’re dead as the saying goes. All we need to do is keep our focus on the right customer, give a compelling value proposition and deliver superb services to them, then our company will be valued not far from that of Globe and Smart," Velarde said.

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