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Intel clears way for WiMAX in Japan

Posted: 26 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WiMAX? Japan network? Intel chipsets?

With Intel Corp. promising that WiMAX chipsets will be in plentiful supply on laptops next year, the processor maker is doing even more to ensure the successful deployment of the wide-area wireless technology in Japan. Intel is teaming up with telecommunications service provider KDDI in seeking to launch a WiMAX network there.

Last week, Intel said it has joined in a joint venture called Wireless Broadband Planning K.K. (WBPK) that will seek to obtain a license from the Japan government to operate a wireless network using WiMAX technology.

The other WBPK members include Kyocera, Daiwa Securities Group, the East Japan Railway and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. Intel has a 17.65 percent stake in the venture with KDDI slated to have a 32.26 percent stake, according to media reports from Japan.

KDDI, which is the second-largest mobile phone service provider in Japan, has been a longtime supporter of WiMAX, beginning its research and development effort on the technology in 2003. KDDI uses CDMA technology for its wireless network infrastructure.

The WBPK effort has global intentions, and the venture's executives have said they have plans to provide WiMAX service beyond Japan through roaming agreements. The venture is targeting the 2.5GHz frequency.

NTT DoCoMo, the largest Japanese wireless service provider, and ACCA Networks have created another WiMAX partnership in Japan. The Japan government has said it expects to award two WiMAX network licenses by the end of the year.

Intel has been a key driver of WiMAX, and CEO Paul Otellini said recently that it will support both Wi-Fi and WiMAX in its forthcoming chipsets. "We are on the cusp of a new global network," he said at Intel's annual developer conference in San Francisco.

- W. David Gardner

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