HP, SK Telecom form wireless venture fund

Hewlett-Packard and SK Telecom Co., South Korea's largest cellular operator, signed an agreement on Monday to cooperate on cell phone research and development and create a wireless venture fund.

The fund will be capitalized at US$10 million and will invest in wireless venture companies both in South Korea and the U.S., said Kwon Chul Kuen, a spokesman for SK Telecom. A deal establishing the fund was signed Monday in Seoul between the two companies and follows the signing in February this year by SK Telecom President Pyo Moon Soo and HP Chairman Carly Fiorina of a memorandum of understanding.

By establishing the venture fund, the companies hope they will be able to benefit from technology being developed by the ventures in which they invest, they said in a statement issued when the agreement was signed.

The two companies also plan to work together on research and development related to cell phone technology, said Kwon. SK Telecom is South Korea's largest mobile operator and has a 50 percent market share. The company operates a nationwide cellular network, based on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, and recently upgraded it to handle packet data at up to 144K bps (bits per second) using the CDMA2000 system.

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