20080204

The WiBro Affair

A negative word about WiBro from SK Telecom's CEO ignited a PR frenzy in favor of Korea's "Mobile WIMAX" technology.

Recently endorsed as ITU-R IMT-2000, this member of the 802.16 family is alive and kicking in Seoul. While SKT focuses on HSPA and rolls out WiBro reluctantly, KT insists with the benediction of Korea Inc : the Government, the ETRI, and of course Posco, the mother company of POSDATA, a major promoter of WiBro who's seeking new markets and opening offices in Kuala Lumpur

KT claims 100,000 subs EOY 2007 with the ambition to reach 400,000 EOY 2008, and downloads to be 3 times faster than with HSPA (3 Mbps vs 1). It's WiBro service sounds almost cheap : a little bit under 20,000 wons, that's halfway between ADSL and FTTH.

But Korea Telecom will need to widen the range of devices available - up to now : 10 modems, 5 laptops and 3 handsets (PC Cards and PDAs are also on the market).

And KT needs to spend a lot on IPTV this year.

To add to the fun, competition is definitely getting fiercer in Korea : POSDATA is facing technology thieves within its own staff and 4 researcher have just been put in jail because they tried to steal WiBro secrets for the US.

Now that's a brilliant PR operation : you don't want to steal something you can't sell... Unless you're an art lover falling for rare antiques.



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