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Waiting For WiBro

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Despite the launch of Korea’s WiBro wireless broadband service at the end of June, the BBC says the service hasn’t made it onto cell phones yet and is only available in a few sections of Seoul — the culprit is the slow moves and technical difficulties in the Wibro silicon market:

Unfortunately, out in the real world Koreans cannot actually use Wibro on their phones because no-one has figured out how to cram in the bulky and power-hungry Wibro chipsets, and make what is essentially a data service work alongside voice calls. . . . Technical gremlins mean the connection keeps dropping when users move between Wibro base stations, and it is only available in five districts of Seoul.

It’s no surprise that the silicon is often times the hardest part to figure out, which is why so many companies are trying to move into the market at this early stage. Sales of WiMAX equipment is estimated to top $3 billion by 2010, says research firm In-Stat, and Fujitsu, Runcom, TeleCIS, Wavesat, Sequans and Samsung, among others, are all competing for business. Hopefully by the time Sprint builds its WiMAX network in the U.S., some of these details will have been worked out.

5 Responses to “Waiting For WiBro”

  1. prashant z

    Hi..i guess the valid question would be do the consumers need broadband on the go…this technical glitches can be solved if there is a market…but these should not be only technology demonstration without consumer need…anyway waiting for this technology to come to subcontinent…

  2. Laurence

    Short memory ? Does anyone remember the early age of Cellphone or Internet Access ?
    The issue is not to make it right the first time but to roll out a product that provide obvious value, technical glitches are part of the game and will be solved along the way. What is important is that WiBro/WiMAX answer a basic need of Internet connection on the move at broadband speed. The rest is conversation.

  3. Jesse Kopelman

    POSDATA, a South Korean company, makes a WiMax/WiBro terminal that looks like a cell phone. How well these things actually perform, I can’t say. Battery life issues are a valid point as I’d be very surprised if VoIP or WiMax/WiBro could compete talk time-wise with super optimized technologies like GSM or CDMA. Really though, this is more a software issue than a hardware issue. To claim you can’t fit a WiMax/WiBro chipset into a mobile phone is absurd.