Intel makes WiMax investment with South Korea's KT

Intel Capital will invest US$20 million to expand WiBro in South Korea

Intel and South Korea's KT Corporation plan to work together to expand WiBro (Wireless Broadband) Internet service to several new areas of South Korea and and have worked to make the network compatible with mobile WiMax.

WiBro was developed by South Korea's telecommunications industry to make a flavor of WiMax that could better work with mobile devices. The technology is very similar to mobile Wimax but uses an 8.75MHz wide channel compared to a 10MHz wide channel on mobile WiMax. That's presented a barrier to roaming but WiBro is now compatible with 10MHz WiMax.

Intel Capital will invest US$20 million in WiBro Infra Co., a joint venture with KT, Samsung Electronics and KB Investment Company, as part of the deal. Intel and KT, which was formerly called Korea Telecom, are also collaborating to launch laptops and netbooks with Intel processors and WiMax chips in South Korea, the companies said in a joint statement.

KT plans to open WiBro service in another five major cities and expressways in South Korea by Friday. By March 2011, KT is expected to offer WiBro service to 82 cities in South Korea, covering 85 percent of the nation's population.

KT in July announced an aggressive 5.1 trillion Korean won (US$4.5 billion) five-year spending plan to expand its WCDMA mobile phone network, Wi-Fi stations and the WiBro network.

"This capex (capital expenditure) plan is to prepare [for the] potential “data explosion” that is forecasted to materialize due to new mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs," the company said at the time.

Starting October 1, laptops and netbooks with Intel Core and Atom processors inside, as well as Intel embedded WiMax chips, will be available in South Korea from PC vendors including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Acer.

Tags business issuesWiMaxNetworkingSamsung ElectronicswirelessinvestmentsintelKB Investment CompanyKT Corporation

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service

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