ASIAN investors are being sought for a US$2 billion satellite-based global telecommunications network that will enable subscribers to receive calls anywhere in the world with pocket telephones. TRW and Teleglobe have announced a joint venture for the Odyssey service but will be seeking Asian support for funding, distribution, production and assistance in developing markets. Marc Leroux, president of Teleglobe World Mobility, said: 'Asia is a prime market target. We are looking for investors who will help us to open doors into local markets. We do not understand the Hong Kong or Asian markets and need partners who will be able to play major roles.' The 12-satellite system will enable the transmission of voice, fax and paging services to subscribers world-wide. The service will be launched in four years with six satellites and the remainder will be in orbit within another year. Rather than replace existing networks, the company sees itself as complementing traditional land-based systems. 'Our typical user would have a huge territory to cover [by phone] but does not want to pay outrageous prices.' These would be, for example, workers in remote locations, such as oil rigs, or in countries without sophisticated telephone networks, particularly China and India, who needed a link to international networks. Mr Leroux said: 'Alternatively, people might like to pay more for added value to their existing system. They might use the service in a limited way but know it is available.' TRW and Teleglobe, which will be the founding partners and managers, are planning to raise around 15 per cent of the capital. The remainder will come from offering equity stakes with the balance a combination of debt and vendor financing. Mr Leroux said the company would be seeking venture capital and 'strategic investors' who could combine cash with regional know-how. 'We have started identifying a number of partners and have started negotiations.' It is expected the company will seek about five partners. 'There are tremendous markets that can be tapped if we understand the market and have the know-how to position ourselves.' The company says that users will have to pay between US$400 and US$500 for a handset and a monthly tariff of between US$10 and US$20. He estimates that calls will cost less than US$1 a minute, around one-third of the rate being quoted by competitors. Mr Leroux said he did not anticipate major problems from telecommunications regulators around the world. 'Liberalisation is the order of the day. When our system goes up, we expect increasing opening up. But approval has to be negotiated with each country. In the United States it has been given.' TRW is an international company listed on the New York, London and Frankfurt stock exchanges. Last year, it had sales of US$7.9 billion. Teleglobe is based in Canada and is listed on the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver stock exchanges. Its revenues last year topped C$1.4 billion (about HK$7.97 billion). Mr Leroux said: 'We are most definite about targeting an investor in Asia.'