New York - Almost two years after reentering the U.S. wireless-phone market, Siemens unveiled a marketing initiative to bolster its tiny U.S. market share by expanding its selection to seven models from two, tapping new price points, and adding a third GSM carrier -- T-Mobile -- to its customer roster.
Coinciding with the launch, the company announced a stepped-up consumer-awareness promotion campaign that includes ads on three cable networks, including MTV.
'These are our first phones with European, Asian, and American versions,' said Rudi Lamprecht, president of the board of Siemens Information and Communications Mobile Group.
Siemens is building up its portfolio now 'to take advantage of a significant [increase] in the North American GSM market' now that carriers Cingular and AT&T are converting to GSM, said Bernt Klein, senior VP/GM for North America. Added Lamprecht, 'The technology [in the U.S.] moved to our strategy [GSM].'
As part of its effort to increase its U.S. share, the company said it's establishing two phone-design centers in the U.S. to complement its San Diego R&D center.
The five new phones, although based on global platforms, were designed specifically for the U.S. market, reflected in part in their dual-band 850/1900MHz design for U.S. frequencies. Of the two phones previously available in the U.S, only a dual-mode, dual-band TDMA/GSM hybrid marketed by AT&T Wireless was designed for the U.S. The other phone, a triband GSM model, is marketed in multiple countries.
All new phones but the entry-level model are GPRS-equipped. Prices range from less than $99 for a voice-centric model to $549 for a PocketPC PDA-phone available now through AT&T Wireless, which is offering software that users can install on their networked PC's hard drive to redirect email to the device. Another model is the color-screen S56, which will accept a digital-camera add-on said to be the world's first with integrated flash. The company's previously available phones have been offered by carriers at $99 and $149.
Some of the new phones are available now, with the last model -- the S56 -- due in the first quarter.
In other comments, Lamprecht said Siemens will remain in the handset market in order to offer carriers a total solution comprising handsets and infrastructure.