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Korean Telecom readies mobile wireless service

Posted: 21 Nov 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sean sung-won shim? korea telecom? south korea? broadband? fixed broadband?

Korea Telecom (KT), South Korea's top fixed broadband service carrier, said it will roll out a new mobile wireless broadband service by mid-2006 called WiBro.

The 3.5G mobile broadband service, also known as mobile WiMax, is based on a sibling (802.16e) of the IEEE802.16 spec. Fixed WiMax, championed by Intel Corp., is another scion (802.16 d).

KT said in a statement that unlike the fixed WiMax, WiBro technology allows subscribers to stay connected to the Internet when moving between cells.

In theory, WiBro subscribers can download up to 10MB of data per second while driving at 75 miles per hour.

In a trial here, the country's second largest city, KT showed that subscribers can download 4MBps at a cruising speed of around 37 miles an hour. The demonstration included a bus outfitted with notebook PCs.

The technology's enables service carriers to offer multimedia services like video, Web casts and multimessaging services in the framework of "triple-play" data, voice and video services.

KT, one of the three designated WiBro service providers along with SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom, said the first deployment will be in the Seoul metropolitan area. It will gradually be expanded throughout the country. Industry experts said the new system will accelerate the replacement of Wi-Fi services in South Korea, where fixed wireless services are widespread. Mobile Wi-Fi services allow mobile users to remain connected instead of having to remain in wireless hotspots.

The new service was expected to provide Korea Telecom with additional sales totaling about 10 trillion won ($10 billion) through 2010, said Koh, Jong-Seog, vice president of KT's Mobile Internet Business Group.

"The economic spill-over effect will be huge," he predicted.

The WiMax Forum is scheduled to decide in 2006 whether to make Wibro technology an international standard for mobile WiMax networks.

In November 2004, Intel and South Korea's LG Electronics Co. agreed to ensure compatibility between WiBro and WiMax technologies. LG's archrival Samsung Electronics Co. signed a deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. to provide equipment for a WiBro trial this past September.

- Sean Sung-Won Shim

EE Times

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