MOTOROLA is aiming to significantly upgrade an existing wireless data technology which could speed up the present trend in Hong Kong away from traditional offices to ''mobile offices''. In the near future, many companies using the technology will be able to track, monitor and communicate with field staff, such as sales and service employees, while dramatically reducing the need for their people to base themselves at head office. Motorola subsidiary, Motorola Aircommunications, is installing the mobile data sending and retrieval system which employs the DataTac 5000 technology. The company will perform trials until the end of the year on the network, which will allow transmission of electronic messages and data from wireless terminals. The plan is to officially launch the system - as yet unnamed - in the first quarter of next year. At that time, customers - typically using a personal organiser or palm top computer coupled with a wireless modem - will not only be able to access financial, betting and other information, but actively make bets and trade in shares and commodities using their ''mobile office''. Roy Tong, Motorola AirCommunications' director of sales and marketing, said: ''It's a useful service that brings you information away from the office; it's a kind of interactive mobile office.'' Motorola has the precursor to the new network in place in the territory. Called the MMP network, this provides two-way data communications which, through a joint development with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, gives access to horse race betting information. Also on the consumer services side is Mobile Quote - wireless financial information service that provides stock market, foreign exchange and futures trading data. Mr Tong said: ''You can't buy using the information yet, but with the new system people will be able to trade.'' The existing system is also attractive to business. Existing customers include Federal Express and the Hong Kong Government's Immigration and Environmental Protection Departments. Mr Tong said the introduction of the new network, which will be four times faster than MMP which runs on 4,800 bits per second, will lead the way in the decentralisation of traditional offices. ''The concept is not just the mobile office; it's a lifestyle and behaviour-change thing,'' he said. ''We will be offering wireless electronic mail and faxes. You can send a fax anywhere without actual physical access to a fax machine.'' Singapore Telecom is also excited about the product's potential. It has just invested HK$50 million in its own wireless communication network which it calls DataRoam. In the Lion City, the DataRoam network will compete with a similar service from ST Mobile Data - a joint venture between a unit of Atlanta-based Bell South Corp and a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Ventures Ltd. Singapore Telecom is bullish about the system. It expects to have about 200 subscribers in the first year, and a couple of thousand within a few more years. Goh-Tan Kuan Kuan, manager in charge of mobile data, told Technology Post the Motorola technology was being installed in Malaysia, Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. Singapore Telecom is initially starting with a pilot scheme involving postmen who carry out urgent deliveries and messages. Mrs Goh-Tan said the service would allow companies to track the position of delivery vehicles, send electronic mail (E-mail) to employees in the field, and process orders from remote locations. ''Now you can do your office work while you are outside,'' Mrs Goh-Tan said. ''You are out of the office when in the sales and marketing areas. Now you can provide a better customer service.'' Digital Equipment Singapore, IBM Singapore and Motorola Electronics Singapore are among the first customers to sign up for the network. ''At the initial stage Singapore Telecom will be selling to big markets,'' Mrs Goh-Tan said. ''It's not a horizontal market. The consumer market is not fully exploited, but we will work at that.'' The attraction for prospective customers is that DataRoam supports two-way wireless data and text communication. With it, information can be transmitted between a portable data terminal and a fixed host, or among portable terminals. The portable terminal can be a laptop, notebook, personal digital assistant, or special device that is connected to a radio modem, while the fixed host can be a computer or a network of computers linked to the public mobile data network.