Nokia contract remains in WA

WA COMPANIES are playing an increasing role in the information and communications revolution.

In the past five years, employment in the communications industry in WA has grown an average 6.2 per cent annually – compared with 2.8 per cent growth across all industries.

Exports in communications services have also increased at an average annual rate of 15.3 per cent.

Balcatta-based ERG is one company in the vanguard of the global revolution.

It recently signed an agreement to continue making Nokia base station equipment used in mobile telecommunications.

Since it began making the Nokia equipment, ERG has employed an extra 150 people specifically for the Nokia business.

It has also invested more than $25 million in its Balcatta manufacturing facility.

The company is also a world leader in smart card technology, particularly in transit systems.

ERG new business development manager Glyn Denison said it was impossible to use the Hong Kong public transport system without a smart card.

The card, about the same size as a credit card, contains a 486-equivalent computer.

“You just have to pass the card near a reader and board the train,” Mr Denison said.

“It’s good for women because they don’t even need to take the card out of their handbag.”

The ERG system went live in Hong Kong in 1997 and now five million people have smart cards.

ERG spent 850,000 man hours preparing the smart card system. That system has now expanded to include pay phones.

“Hong Kong has become ERG’s showcase,” Mr Denison said.

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