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South Korea preps deployment of WiMax variant

Posted: 25 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wimax? telecommunication? IEEE802.16e? wireless broadband?

South Korea intends to issue licenses next month for a domestic wireless broadband standard known as WiBro, which is based on similar technology used by the more widely known WiMAx.

Three of the nation's telecommunications service providers, Korea Telecom, SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom, are due to start offering services some time in early to mid 2006, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication. Users of the service would be charged about $30 a month.

WiBro is similar to the IEEE802.16e variation of WiMax but has some differences, which the government is trying to harmonize with the IEEE. WiBro's basic offering would enable a maximum of 1Mbps downloads on devices moving at speeds of about 40 miles per hour.

If successful, WiBro would be a strong complement to the CDMA EV-DO networks and more than 18,000 hotspots already deployed in Korea. It would also provide a new area of growth in one of the most cellphone-savvy societies. The ministry expects the three telcos to spend about $1 billion each to build the infrastructure, and predicts that 9.5 million users will sign up by 2012.

It's shaping up to be a busy year for broadband services in Korea. During the next few months, the country is also due to ramp up commercial rollouts of satellite- and terrestrial-based Digital Multimedia Broadcasting services and it is also running a pilot of a converged broadband-broadcast services network in the Seoul area.

Thirty-one companies have linked up on a $17 million project to bring high-speed broadband and broadcast services, such as high-definition video on demand, to 600 homes in the Seoul area. The project runs through the end of this year.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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