Flarion Doubles Down in Korea
Hanaro is testing the Flarion equipment's suitability to provide mobile broadband access in the 2.3GHz band. Korean operator SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) is already running a similar trial with Flarion kit, which is currently operational in the 800MHz band, and has made an undisclosed investment in the company (see Flarion Cookin' Up Seoul Food and SK Flashes Cash for Flarion).
“High-speed Internet in Korea has surpassed 10 million subscribers, and the market has become very competitive," says Hanaro CEO Yun-Sik Shin, in a statement. "Providers have begun giving up profits to maintain their market share. Hanaro Telecom plans to create a new 2.3GHz wireless Internet market that will achieve the same level of success we have had with ADSL.”
The South Korean government is reviewing its policy for use of 2.3GHz frequency for broadband wireless. Hanaro will test the technology to help the administration to decide if Flarion equipment will be approved for this task, according to Flarion's senior director of business development, Matt Bancroft.
The trial will take place in Ilsan, a suburb of Seoul, and will cover an area of up to 100 miles, depending on the exact location of the basestations. Performance testing will start in March, with a view to migrating "friendly customers" onto the network in July.
One of the aspects that Hanaro will be testing is the ability to roam between its wired IP backbone and the Flarion system. Flarion is using mobile IP as a transport protocol. "The way that you appear to the core of the wired network or the wireless network is the same," says Bancroft. Flarion claims that its system offers less than 30 milliseconds "round-trip delay" for handoffs.
Flarion's Flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology uses a digital modulation technique that splits the signal at different frequencies, making it more spectrally efficient than 3G technologies such as CDMA 2000 or WCDMA by a factor of four or five. The company claims its technology can deliver connectivity to IP data networks at 10 percent and 20 percent of the cost of traditional CDMA and TDMA systems.
If all goes well with the trial, Flarion expects commercial deployment of its equipment to start in 2004.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung