Intel Invests $43 Million in Japanese WiMax Operator

Intel and UQ Communications team up to promote WiMax in Japan, while Intel Capital invests $43 million in the Tokyo-based operator.

Chipmaker Intel and Tokyo-based telecommunications company UQ Communications, announced a extended collaboration to promote and expand UQ WiMax, the commercially available WiMax service from UQ Communications in Japan. The service is expected to launch on July 1. In addition to collaborating on embedded technology, Intel Capital invested $43 million in the company to help continue the nationwide expansion of WiMax service.

Intel is providing embedded WiMax laptops based on Intel Centrino 2 processor technology to enable mobile WiMax broadband Internet access. The two companies said they will also work with PC vendors and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to deliver a range of initiatives and promotional activities to drive adoption of WiMax and creating greater awareness for the global WiMax ecosystem.

"Working with Intel, we are on the road to full mobile broadband access, and, remarkably, in just 18 months since UQ Communications obtained a Mobile WiMax license," said UQ Communications President Takashi Tanaka. "A feature of Mobile WiMax is that its infrastructure is open, both to people who want to use WiMax, and to businesses that want to enter the WiMax market."

Tanaka called the announcement a major milestone and said the venture will enable true mobile broadband access, with Intel enabling WiMax modules to be built into all kinds of devices connected to high-speed UQ's network. As part of the initiative, UQ Communications unveiled a fee structure that the company said would make it easy for new users to subscribe.

For its part, Intel will offer the Intel WiMax/Wi-Fi Link 5150, an embedded module supporting both wireless LAN and WiMax, providing WiMax Internet connectivity. Toshiba, Panasonic and Onkyo unveiled notebook PCs that integrate the module and Centrino 2 processor technology. The laptops are scheduled to debut next month in Japan.

Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer of Intel, said the company looks forward to UQ's WiMax service launch next month. "The next-generation wireless Internet broadband from UQ will be one of the most advanced networks in the world, further driving global adoption of WiMax," he said. "Intel also welcomes today's announcement that Centrino 2 processor technology-based laptops with embedded WiMax will be introduced in the Japanese market, a huge leap forward in the continued development and expansion of the global WiMax ecosystem."