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KT completes national 4G WiBro network

March 2, 2011 - 18:19 By Cho Ji-hyun
KT Corp. announced Wednesday that it has established a fourth generation wireless broadband (WiBro) network across the nation, enabling users to gain faster access to the Internet on their mobile devices.

Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s mobile business group, said the country’s top wireless Internet zone operator has set up the high speed network in 82 cities and on seven highways nationwide to keep pace with the explosion in data usage.

“Through the popular use of smartphones in Korea, such as Apple’s iPhone, the country has become a nation which is most noted for data explosion,” he said. “We intend to overcome the obstacles through constructing a total network.”

Pyo pointed out that Korean consumers use an average of 271 megabytes of data per month, whereas the global average is 85 megabytes. Japanese consumers’ average was recorded to be 199 megabytes.
Pyo Hyun-myung, president of KT’s mobile business group, announces the establishment of a fourth generation wireless broadband network across the nation in a news conference at its headquarters in downtown Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)

The new fourth generation radio platform technology Long Term Evolution Advanced is deemed to be a measure that would provide even faster data services, and is expected to be introduced later this year.

“People claim LTE-A is the ultimate 4G technology, however, it is estimated to take a great amount of time for it to be commercialized,” he said, adding that it is why the two technologies are in a complementary relationship.

The newly-established 4G WiBro network is expected to offer seamless Internet access to 85 percent of the population at fixed spots and even when they are on the go.

“I believe the 3W network ― WiBro, Wi-Fi and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access technologies ― along with LTE is the answer for mobile wonderland,” said Pyo.

The company also unveiled Galaxy Tab WiBro, built in cooperation with Samsung Electronics, which does not provide telecommunications services but operates on wireless ― Wi-Fi and WiBro ― networks.

In April, it will also release an Egg ― a device that transforms WiBro to Wi-Fi signals ― in the form of a smartphone case for iPhone owners, according to Pyo. The case can also be used as a mobile charger.

The WiBro plan is part of KT’s scheme to create a mobile wonderland, meaning it will build a total network for its fixed-line and wireless services by 2014. The country’s top fixed-line service operator pledged in July to invest 5.1 trillion won ($4.31 billion) for the project which is expected to meet the rising mobile data usage as an increasing number of people are owning multiple gadgets.

In a related effort, the company has moved its WiBro network onto the standard of 10 megahertz (MHz) WiMAX channel width, up from 8.75 MHz, to improve service quality by up to twofold.

The telecom giant is aiming to attract up to a total of 6 million registered smartphone users and 1 million registered tablet PC users by next year, as well as 1.12 trillion won in sales in the two sectors, said its officials.

As of Feb. 24, the company has set up 47,000 Wi-Fi zones, with a goal of building up to 100,000 zones by the end of this year.

By Cho Ji-hyun (