SEOUL, South Korea—Having achieved nearly 100 percent penetration of mobile phone service, South Koreas telecommunication providers are now competing to offer wireless Internet services. Earlier this month, Korea Telecom (KT), South Koreas largest broadband provider, began demonstrating early iterations of its 2.3GHz wireless Internet service technology.
Expanded tests of the service, including trials with partners from the United States, are due next month.
KTs demonstration included wireless modems attached to mobile devices such as notebooks and PDAs. KTs 2.3GHz technology includes smart antennas and TDD/TDMA, a device for activating frequencies. The devices successfully maintained connection to 2.3GHz wireless LANs service while moving from one location to another. The test showed maximum data transmission speeds of about 1M bps, acceptable performance for most individual and corporate Internet users when compared with broadband Internet service or wireless LAN service. This portends well for future commercialization of these technologies, experts say.
The base station that KT set up for the demonstration was operated in partnership with LG Electronics, ArrayComm and Kyocera. In April, KT plans to conduct further testing with Flarion, a U.S.-based company. A number of other Korean telecommunication companies are also working with Flarion to provide mobile Internet service. SK Telecom, Koreas largest wireless carrier, invested in Flarion last year and uses the companys technologies in its own demonstration. Hanaro Telecom, the countrys second largest broadband carrier, is conducting similar tests in collaboration with Flarion.
Korean telecommunication companies are already providing wireless Internet access for laptops, PDAs and other devices, but these services are currently only available in a restricted number of locations. If wireless Internet service is commercialized, it will enable Koreans to access the Internet and advanced telecommunication services from any location.
With the telecommunications industry set on deploying wireless Internet service as soon as possible, the standards for wireless Internet service are expected to be set by the end of the year.