GPRS testing gets underway in five of the region's largest countries

GPRS testing underway in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, says Motorola's local marketing manager.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  September 1, 2001

GPRS network testing is underway in five of the region’s largest markets. Currently, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE are all developing general packet radio services (GPRS) due for delivery in the coming months.

“Motorola is currently engaged in GPRS testing in five of the biggest markets in the region,” said Fadi Kachkouche, marketing manager, ME&NA for Motorola, in an interview with Gulf News.

“GPRS will be the turbo on the GSM engine,” added the marketing manager.

Alongside accelerating GSM handset sales, GPRS-based networks offer the opportunity of linking more people the Web. In the Middle East where Internet penetration in many markets is much lower than the volume of mobile phone users there is great enthusiasm for faster mobile services.

“GPRS offers several advantages above WAP (wireless application protocol) services,” says Ivan Fernandes, managing director, of wireless application developer,

“GPRS will drive the use of mobile services… with WAP you only used it when you needed to. GPRS is always on and faster than WAP,” he added.

Further development of mobile services, are likely to surround market verticals, such as banking, telecoms, government or the airline industry, predicts Fernandes.

However, each particular market will have to identify ‘killer' mobile applications. For example, there is very little need for weather reports in the Middle East, buts says Fernandes there is a greater demand for international and local stork market information.

“The information available has to be of interest to the local market,” says Fernandes.

“The services need to be in the consumer’s mind, they need to find a purpose for that information,” he adds.

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