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New Wireless Standard Ready to Launch

Posted February. 24, 2007 07:15,   


On February 23, mobile telecommunication companies KFT and SK Telecom announced the launch of 3G High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) network service nationwide. The launch date for KTF is March 1, and the end of March for SK Telecom.

Accordingly, music videos, Internet broadcast shows, animation and news will become downloadable from mobile phones, and video phone service is now possible. Not only that, searching through wired Internet websites and enjoying network games in colorful graphics with many other users is no longer a thing of the future. With this service, mobile phones can play the roles of both TV and PC.

3G mobile telecommunication service is expected to bring sea changes to people’s daily lives.

Video calls will become common, enabling users to talk on the phone while seeing each other’s faces. Ring-back tones, SMS, and other existing services are expected to be upgraded to video from being mostly text or voice-oriented. Wireless Internet using a mobile phone will become as fast as household ADSL.

It is predicted that mobile telecom companies will lower their video call and data communications fees and mobile phone devices as much as possible in order to attract users to the 3G service early.

Related companies expect that the fees for video calls and data communication will be cut in half. As of February 22, the video call fee for KTF is 100 won per 10 seconds, and for SK Telecom, the price is 120 won.

3G mobile communications, unlike 2G, may carry a flexible fee service with business registrations only, so fierce competition and low prices are likely in order to secure a customer base.

As for mobile phones, their prices will likely plummet due to the launch of more mobile phones by Korean companies and more imports of foreign brands.

Currently, some countries, including Hong Kong and Finland, provide HSDPA-enabled video call service, but Korea is the first country to provide the service nationwide. The service has been commercialized in Korea since June last year, and has been available in the metropolitan area.

mikemoon@donga.com bookum90@donga.com