QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, today announced it has signed an agreement to invest approximately $200 million in Korea Telecom Freetel (KT Freetel), one of the world's fastest-growing and largest Personal Communications Services (PCS) operators. Upon successfully completing technical and marketing trials of High Data Rate (HDR) technology, KT Freetel is expected to deploy HDR in its major markets. The transaction is expected to close later this month.
Since introducing the first IS-95B system in September of this year, KT Freetel has seen demand for wireless voice and data connectivity grow rapidly. KT Freetel believes that HDR provides the fastest, most cost-efficient solution to address the demand for wireless data services. Technical trials of HDR are expected to begin in the middle of 2000, and the marketing trials and commercial rollout are expected to occur during 2001.
"KT Freetel's network provides our customers with superior voice and data access rates of up to 64 Kbps," said Sang-Chul Lee, president and CEO, KT Freetel. "When we look at our customers' future needs, we see an increasing demand for cost-effective wireless Internet access, and especially, the fastest wireless Internet access possible. HDR is the technology that allows us to deliver this service to our customers."
"The opportunity for cellular and PCS carriers around the world to provide cost-effective, high-speed wireless Internet access is extraordinary," said Irwin M. Jacobs, chairman and CEO, QUALCOMM. "We are very excited that KT Freetel has taken a leadership role to satisfy the demands of this large market in Korea, and we look forward to working with them closely to make the implementation of HDR technology a success."
Initial HDR network trials will incorporate evaluations of HDR's air-link performance, advanced feature sets, decentralized Internet Protocol (IP)-based architecture and highly integrated access points. HDR supports e-mail, web browsing, e-commerce, telematics and many other applications while offering end-users continuous, untethered access to the Internet and next generation data services. HDR's versatility allows the technology to be embedded in handsets, laptops and handheld computers, and other fixed, portable and mobile devices. KTF will select equipment manufacturers to support the initial trials and subsequent commercial deployment. QUALCOMM is committed to working with KTF's selected suppliers to enable them to deliver commercial HDR products as quickly as possible.
HDR provides a spectrally efficient 2.4 Mbps peak rate in a standard 1.25 MHz channel bandwidth. Optimized for packet data services, HDR incorporates a flexible architecture based on standard Internet Protocols (IP). HDR's IP-based architecture allows flexible implementation of this wireless system in high-performance and cost-effective ways. As a complementary solution to voice networks utilizing operator's existing cell sites, towers, antennas and network equipment, HDR technology allows operators to leverage their current infrastructure investment and cellular/Personal Communication Services (PCS) networks. HDR can also be implemented as a stand-alone system using off-the-shelf IP backbone equipment. HDR is compatible with IS-95A, IS-95B and future cdma2000 networks, enabling existing cdmaOne and cdma2000 service providers to obtain higher capacities and superior performance by optimizing voice and data spectrum separately, serving both applications from the same network.
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