20060626

Wanted : a stronger Asian CDMA alliance

In a rather Vodafonish / DoCoMish move, SK Telecom recently secured $1bn worth of China Unicom bonds - the equivalent of 6.6% in shares (if converted next year)*. The vehicle of this partnership, China Unicom Limited (CUHK), owns 100% of China Unicom Corporation Limited (CUCL), a mainland operator strong of 130 M subscribers of which 35 M are CDMA.
SKT seems to claim the leadership in CDMA-3G-and-beyond across the world, their US M-VNO Helio being another key part of this vast jigsaw puzzle. Korea's leading cellco didn't get the 10% it wanted but had to do something : it can't support the evolutions of an ailing CDMA community on its own, China pushes TD-SCDMA and Japan's NTT DoCoMo drafted its rival KTF in an impressive regional W-CDMA alliance.
SKT are also launching WiBro these days in Seoul, a few weeks after KTF** and also with Samsung. The Korean manufacturer is said to eye the Indian market for this "han-made" techno but doesn't bet everything on the same horse : a dual mode WiMAX-GSM handset will be up for grabs next year.

* that was the only event during SEK 2006 (Security and Content Exhibition Korea - www.sek.co.kr).
** see "Commercial HSDPA live in Korea" (20060517)





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