20060517

Commercial HSDPA live in Korea

SK Telecom launched its HSDPA service in 25 cities yesterday and intends to cover 84 by the end of the year. KTF will follow in June with 50 cities.
Dubbed 3.5G and announced at 5.76 to 14.4 mbps rates, HSDPA will be limited to 1.8 mbps at the beginning due to the lack of handsets : the only one available right now is a W200
Samsung slider model costing 800,000 wons without subsidies. SKT expect handsets to allow 7.2 mbps rates next year and 14.4 in 2008.
W-CDMA was almost shunted in Korea, but KTF are eventually leveraging on their partnership with NTT DoCoMo for the World Cup : as the official sponsor of the Korean Football Association, they're advertising about successful roaming video calls between members of the official supporter group (Red Devils). Meanwhile, WiBro trials started rather discretely in Seoul : only a few southern areas like Gangnam-gu or Bundang are covered and a WiBro Bus* will roam the streets to draft testers. Subscriptions are expected to be twice the cost of a fixed broadband connection.
As for DMB, Korea Pool, the joint negociating arm of all three broadcasters, clinched a deal with InFront to make sure all 64 games are broadcasted. No one will lose and certainly not consumers.

* KT WiBro Experience Bus : www.ktwibrobus.com. Note the pedagogy of WiBro : allIP + Triple Play (Data, Communication, Media) = Personal Broadband.



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