South Korea to Trial 3G Mobile Network

TOKYO (01/28/2000) - Two of Asia's leading cellular network operators have jointly launched trials of W-CDMA (wideband code division multiple access), a third generation cellular technology, in South Korea.

The tests tie NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo), Japan's leading cellular carrier and one of the driving forces behind W-CDMA, with SK Telecom Co. Ltd., one of South Korea's largest cellular carriers.

The trials will build towards the launch of a commercial W-CDMA-based service in South Korea in time for the World Cup soccer championship in 2002, which is being jointly staged by Japan and South Korea, the two companies said in a statement yesterday.

NTT DoCoMo is planning to launch a W-CDMA-based network in the Tokyo region in 2001, likely to be the first third-generation network in place on the globe.

The operator is now keen to promote the system outside of Japan, so the present situation, where Japan's mobile phone system differs from those in the rest of the world, is not repeated.

To this end, the company has already bought a 19 percent stake in Hong Kong's Hutchison Telephone Co. with hopes of influencing the company's choice over a replacement for its current second-generation mobile network [See "NTT DoCoMo to Take Stake in Hutchison Telephone," Dec. 2, 1999].

NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc., based in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.nttdocomo.com/.

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