• Kyodo

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NEC Corp. was named Wednesday as a preferred supplier of third-generation multimedia mobile telecommunications devices for the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Group.

NEC will begin providing its wireless devices to Hutchison Whampoa’s 3G operations based in Italy, Australia, Austria, Sweden and Britain in the third quarter of next year, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The deal is NEC’s “first and largest” agreement for 3G devices outside Japan, the statement said, but did not disclose the contract’s value.

“This agreement with Hutchison gives us a strong foothold to take our position forward,” said Ben Nakamura, associate senior vice president and executive general manager of NEC’s mobile terminal business unit. Since May, NEC has supplied 3G devices for the multimedia mobile service — FOMA — of NTT DoCoMo Inc., a strategy partner of Hutchison Whampoa.

Hutchison Whampoa’s managing director, Canning Fok, praised NEC for its track record in mobile Internet and equipment related to multimedia.

“Hutchison is all set to launch 3G services in our markets offering customers a choice of devices,” Fok said.

The Hong Kong-based conglomerate announced last month a deal with U.S.-based Motorola Inc. valued at more than $700 million, also for supplying 3G devices.

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