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Mobile WiMax to be rolled out in China next year

Samsung's wireless network gets first customers

Samsung has already shipped mobile WiMax equipment to one customer in China and is in talks with a second customer about supplying similar equipment, a company executive said today.

"I cannot disclose any names," said Hwan Woo Chung, vice-president at Samsung's Mobile WiMax Group, speaking at a conference in Singapore. "You will see early next year what will happen there."

The first customer will not roll out a national mobile WiMax network, instead using the technology for "special applications" in several provinces, Chung said, declining to comment further on the deal. Mobile WiMax is currently used to provide commercial services in South Korea and is being rolled out elsewhere.

Service providers in China today have few options for mobile data services, as the government has yet to issue licences for 3G (third-generation) mobile services.

Samsung was one of the first companies to offer mobile WiMax technology, which is capable of downlink speeds up to 10.2Mbps (megabits per second) while travelling at 120kmph (75mph). By the third quarter of next year, Samsung expects to push downlink speeds higher, to a maximum of nearly 40Mbps.

Samsung signed more than 20 contracts for mobile WiMax trial networks during 2006, and has dozens more under negotiation, Chung said.

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