South Korea Will Be 1st With Nationwide WiMax

SEOUL — South Korea will be the first country with nationwide WiMax coverage.

Intel and Korea Telecom have already teamed to roll out WiMax-based high-speed Internet service in Seoul, Inchon and Suwon.

But beginning tomorrow, five more cities will be added to their initiative — Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon and Ulsan, as well as the expressways of Gyeongbu, Jungbu, Honam and Yeongdong. And more are on the way.

With its initiative completed in March, WiMax service in Korea, all told, will cover 82 cities, or 85 percent of the total population.

"Just like a seamless transportation network requiring expressways, railroads, and aviation, Korea Telecom will develop a 3W network with Wibro, Wi-Fi, and WCDMA technologies complementing each other to make Korea the world's best mobile wonderland," Korea Telecom CEO Suk-chae Lee said in a statement.

The ramped up service will offer the so-called 3W network, because it will consist of WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) 3G mobile communications, wireless LAN and Wibro (wireless broadband) high-speed Internet.

Wibro is a blend of WiMax that operates under a different frequency — the 10MHz channel — than standard WiMax, which should improve the quality of the service by offering greater compatibility with WiMax networks around the world.

Korean consumers, starting Friday, can buy new notebooks and Netbooks from Samsung, LG and Acer that offer built-in WiMax with Intel's Centrino Advanced N + WiMax 6250 adapter, eliminating the need for USB modems or wireless routers.