Reality Check

REALITY CHECK

MOTOROLA'S CRITICS in Japan and the U.S. gripe that the company is bullying the Japan's postal ministry to allocate additional radio-wave spectrum for its own cellular phone standard. Why can't Motorola just make Japanese-style phones, they ask. And why should Japan have to support a North American telecommunications standard that would shut out Japanese equipment vendors?

IN REALITY, Motorola makes cellular phones to Japanese specifications for Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, which leases them to consumers. Yet if Japan's bureaucrats relent, the U.S. company may not be the big winner. Japanese companies, which build Motorola-style phones for the U.S. and Europe, would likely gain market share at home. Still, Motorola wants its superior technology to prevail--and thinks lower prices brought by its standard would spur sales. "This whole debate is not about helping one U.S. company," says Motorola Vice-President Frank Sanda. "It's about opening up markets and getting the best possible equipment to the consumer."

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