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S-Fone �€˜major player�€™ in multimedia market

Though still a small market player in subscriber terms, CDMA mobile operator S-Fone claims it is the source of livelier competition in the sector. The two rivals of the South Korean-invested network, MobiFine and VinaPhone, have begun matching S-Fone services, launching trial offers of multimedia messaging (MMS) and GPRS �€“ services offered by S-Fone since its launch on July 1.

GPRS, or General Packet Radio Service, allows mobile phones to send music, photos or large files at speeds up to three times faster than conventional GSM networks.

At the end of August, S-Fone had more than 10,000 subscribers compared to VinaPhone�€™s 1.46 million and MobiFone�€™s 854,000. Roaming capacity between the three networks has not

been set up yet.

�€œThe evidence shows that since CDMA announced its launch on July 1, both MobiFone and VinaPhone have continuously launched new services to attract customers. When a newcomer appears and companies make an effort to keep their customers, it means S-Fone is not a minor thing,�€� S-Fone�€™s director of strategy Do Van Quat said.

Quat said with S-Fone�€™s participation, the Vietnamese telecom market had become truly competitive.

�€œBy launching MMS and GPRS, (MobiFone and VinaPhone) have given local customers a chance to make a comparison when choosing the network. Competition is becoming a motivating factor that consumers will benefit from most,�€� Quat said.

S-Fone does not consider the new technology offered by its rivals to provide any real competition.

�€œOur target markets are not similar to VinaPhone and MobiFone, which focus on improving services, and therefore we will not expect any direct or particularly fierce competition,�€�Quat said.

S-Fone is scheduled to have nationwide coverage by 2005, Quat said. - (14/10/2003)

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