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WiBro: Mobile WiMAX in Disguise?

WiBro is a soon to be implemented mobile high-speed Wireless Internet access service for the South Korean market. Positioned between traditional wired broadband access and mobile phone data services, it could fill an important niche.

KT and SK Telecom are aggressively preparing to launch commercial WiBro services early next year. WiBro equipment vendors and service operators are making progress at a faster pace than the mobile WiMAX camp in terms of standard realization and system rollout.

Until recently, WiBro was considered only as a South Korean domestic network but that perception is changing rapidly. Built-in compatibility with mobile WiMAX (802.16e), coupled with already-designed terminals and network equipment could make WiBro, and the participating vendors, powerful players on the world market. WiBro itself is attempting to expand globally with Japanese, South East Asian and U.S. service operators conducting trials.

According to ABI Research senior analyst Andy Bae, "With Korean users' high demands for wireless multimedia services via the Internet and KT's aggressive `WiBro as the Next Growth Engine' plan to compete with SK Telecom-backed HSDPA, WiBro in South Korea will be well-positioned for success."

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