TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Intel Sees Wimax Trials in Asia End of 2005

Intel Sees Wimax Trials in Asia End of 2005

Jennifer Tan (
Thu, 22 Sep 2005 11:36:17 -0500

By Jennifer Tan

Intel Corp., the world's largest microchip maker, said on Thursday it
expected to implement trials of the emerging wireless broadband
technology called "WiMax" in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines by

Intel, which makes the microprocessor chips that function as the
brains of over 80 percent of the world's personal computers, has been
the driving force behind the deployment of WiMax, a wireless data
network that promises to blanket entire cities with high-speed
Internet links.

"The trials of the technology are starting now, and we see
(commercial) roll-out worldwide over the next two to three years,"
Sean Maloney, the head of Intel's mobility unit, told Reuters. "But
it's patchy -- some places will be faster than others."

Indonesia and Vietnam would be next in line to try out the technology
next year, he added.

Intel has carried out trials with 100 telecoms carriers globally, with
25 in the Asia Pacific region. It is also helping South Korea's top
fixed-line and broadband operator KT Corp. set up WiMax in its
domestic market.

South Korea is set to be the leader in WiMax, with commercial roll-out
seen in the first half of next year, Maloney added.


In a bid to grow beyond the PC box, Intel has spent millions investing
in emerging technologies like WiMax, touting it as the long-distance
broadband Internet sibling of Wi-Fi, the wireless computer standard
popularized in coffee bars and restaurants.

The company, which has been punished by investors for its close ties
to the highly cyclical PC market, can no longer count on computer
demand to expand at the same rapid clip as before.

Intel, which competes with smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.,
also plans to build WiMax chips into laptop chipsets, just like it
started selling Wi-Fi chips as a part of its Centrino range of
notebook computers two years ago.

"WiMax will be one of those growth avenues, and everything to do with
mobile computing as well," Maloney said.

"Sales of notebooks, PCs and general computer infrastructure following
WiMax will benefit Intel -- if you enable more and more people to get
connected to the Internet, it's likely more people will end up buying

Maloney said Intel would usually work with the regulator or government
in each country, as well as some of the largest telecoms carriers and
Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

It is working with True Corp., which owns TA Orange PCL, Thailand's
third-largest mobile operator, and Telekom Malaysia, the country's
dominant phone company.

Leighton Phillips, director of Intel's Southeast Asia solutions group,
said the company was engaging with five government agencies and three
companies in Thailand, which would provide a critical mass to
implement wireless broadband services for the rural population.

Intel believes WiMax can facilitate better education, healthcare,
agricultural productivity and incomes, he added.

"About 65 to 70 percent of the community is rural suburban in
Southeast Asia -- about 300 million people, which is a little bit less
than the U.S., and for a government that's interested in economic
development, this is high on the agenda," he said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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