Samsung Speeds Toward Fourth Generation Revolution in Mobile Communications
Samsung Speeds Toward Fourth Generation Revolution in Mobile Communications
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  • 승인 2006.09.01 12:01
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Cover Story / Samsung Electronics Electronics company leads strongly in wireless, mobile communication development using two new technologies Samsung Electronics, the world's third-largest cell phone producer, will introduce a handset-sized terminal embracing the 4G system in 2008. This new technology joins a growing family of other technologies such as WiBro and WiMax. Meeting the press at the Fourth-Generation (4G) Forum held at Jeju Shilla Hotel on Jeju Island on August 31, Samsung President Lee Ki-tae said, "Now that Samsung has succeeded in developing 4G technologies it will expand its investment in securing 4G standard patents. Through this effort, Samsung will be able to develop and debut a handset-sized terminal carrying the 4G system in 2008." The 4G commercialization was earlier predicted to be around 2010. President Lee, who is in charge of Samsung's telecom network business, stressed that manufacturers and businessmen should work together until 2010 when 4G mobile communication is expected to be commercialized." About 120 prominent figures in the world's IT field, including Cingular Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, China Unicom, Sprint Nextel, Intel, Motorola and Qualcomm attended the 2006 Samsung 4G Forum. At the forum, Samsung Electronics demonstrated a super-fast mobile Internet platform. The wireless technologies being developed by Samsung promise download speeds of 100 Mbps (megabits per second) for users on the move and 1Gbps (gigabits per second) for those at a standstill. The throughput of 1Gbps, which enables people to download 300 music files in 2.4 seconds or a movie file in 5.6 seconds, is even faster than today's maximum land line connectivity of 100 Mbps. The 1 Gbps service allowed simultaneous transmission of 32 high-definition channel broadcast downloads, Internet access and video telephony. Commenting that 4G mobile services will take on a whole new dimension, Lee said that its specific service requirements and spectral efficiency will be more actively discussed throughout the world. Samsung President Lee said, "We are proud to demonstrate 4G technology for the first time at the Samsung 4G Forum. We hope to drive development and standardization of 4G technology via successful demonstrations to help usher in the 4G era." Demonstration sessions took place on Jeju Island in a specially designed bus, which showed 32 high-definition channel broadcasts, Internet access and video telephony at the same time. In addition, Samsung disclosed lab experiments in which it reached a transmission rate of 3.5Gbps with a terminal moving at sixty kilometers per hour. The speed is notable because 2.5Gbps has been regarded as the upper limit of wireless transmission. Commenting that the speeds meet the requirements of 4G, President Lee hopes to drive development and standardization of 4G mobile technologies with the successful demonstration and realize Samsung's dream to begin the 4G era. Of course, Samsung is also seeking to work with associated parties for the successful commercialization of 4G technologies. Samsung Seeks to Set New World Standards The 4G mobile system is defined as a network that allows data transfer rates of 1Gbps in stationary, or nomadic, circumstances and 100 Mbps in mobile environments. Samsung has already developed handover technologies for the ultra-fast mobile platform, enabling users to remain connected while moving between base stations. The solution, which Samsung showed at the 4G forum on a bus traveling at 60 kilometers per hour, is essential to commercially launch any mobility-specific service. The world also recognizes the potential of 4G and the radio spectrum for next-generation wireless technologies will be decided in late 2007 at the World Radio-communication Conference. The annual 4G Forum, which started in 2003, was designed to bring together the telecom industry, academia, service providers and regulators to create multi-perspective talks. Around 170 high-profile industry representatives from 20 countries participated in the fourth edition of the gathering this year on the topic of service requirements and radio spectrum allocation for 4G. High-speed Commercialization of 4G Platforms The Samsung president reassured participants that the company will place top priority on commercializing the 4G platform, following 3.5G WiBro, which was released to the market this year. On the widening sales gap with rivals such as Nokia of Finland (150 million units in the first half) and Motorola of the United States (98 million units during the same period), the president stressed that Samsung will push for a marketing strategy focused on a premium brand image. If Samsung drags down handset prices right away, it will directly lead to more sales. However, they consider their existing premium brand image more valuable. While some 950 million units of mobile handsets are forecast to sell this year worldwide, Samsung targets 115 million units. "Considering that Samsung has posted 9.5 trillion won ($9.9 billion) from selling 550 billion units in the first six months of this year, meeting the sales goal will not be so difficult," Lee noted. Standard patents for 4G Hotbed of Fierce Competition Samsung acknowledges that competition surrounding standards and intellectual property rights (IPR) of 4G technologies among companies has been fierce. Representatives of Samsung have noted that standard and patent competition for 4G technologies has already started and will be more concrete in the future. The company is exerting its best efforts to seek standard patents in order for 4G technologies to be adopted as an international standard "It has not been revealed yet who will exercise which intellectual property right or which company possesses the basic technology. At present, I think, those who own orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) technology will hold the initiative," President Lee Ki-tae predicted. Noting that Samsung will strengthen the slim mobile phone marketing, led by the Ultra Edition series, Lee commented, "Samsung sold a total of 5,500 mobile phones worth 9.5 trillion won ($9.6 billion) in the first half of this year. So, there is no problem to achieve this year's sales target established last September. In fact, we plan to raise the sales target in the latter half." Samsung Electronics has recently released the Ultra Edition series consisting of 3 ultra slim models -- a candy bar, a slider and a clamshell. Although analysts in Samsung are keenly watching a drop in the market share, Samsung plans to stick to the premium strategy for sales of both low-priced and middle-priced terminals. WiBro Mediates Switch From 3G to 4G by Bridging Gap WiBro, a more mature technology that Samsung has developed, offers Internet speeds of 2 to 3 Mbps to a user who is moving up to 120 kilometers per hour. It is sometimes referred to as 3.5G technology, as it bridges the gap between the current third and future fourth generation technologies. The wireless technology, which is based on the 2005 IEEE 802.16.e standard, was selected by Sprint Nextel for its next-generation broadband mobile network that it plans to implement in the United States market in 2008. The 4G mobile services -- featuring ubiquity, faster speed capabilities and convergence -- are being widely touted as the technology to beat Wi-Fi. Broadband vendors worldwide are rushing to adopt 4G, as 3G matures and 3.5G is now being switched on, a Samsung spokesman said. The International Telecommunication Union has dubbed 4G as "IMT-Advanced," defining it as a future wireless technology with data transmission rates of 1 Gbps in nomadic circumstances and 100 Mbps in mobile circumstances. Mobile WiMax Chipset Market Speeding Up In the meantime, global communication companies including Samsung Electronics, Motorola and Intel, are staging stiff competition to take the market leadership of WiBro, which has emerged as the gateway to 4G mobile communications. Samsung Electronics, which secured its independent mobile WiMax chipset design technology, has been bolstering its status as a supplier of the mobile WiMax total package. Following the development of broadcasting equipment and terminals, Motorola has launched the development of chipsets comprising such functions as voice, data and video. Intel, which seeks a market expansion in the mobile area, is also striving to revive the myth of Intel's central processing unit (CPU) in the mobile WiMax chipset field. The chipset is the core of the commercialization of the next generation of communication, which is characterized by the super-speed transmission of mass data. Competition is expected to be extremely fierce among global companies in the mobile WiMax chipset market. According to industrial sources, the BECEEM 100 jointly developed by Samsung and the U.S. semiconductor company BECEEM is the sole mobile WiMax commercial chip. BECEEM is installed in the broadcasting equipment and terminal for the WiBro service, which was commercialized by KT and SK Telecom for the first time in the world. The two companies eventually plan to introduce the BESEEM 200 carrying improved functions to the market. At the 4G forum President Lee Ki-tae said, "Samsung designed the mobile WiMax chipsets we are now using. We will produce the chipsets through companies with high competitive power." Motorola, which was selected as the supplier of mobile WiMax terminal and equipment to Sprint Nextel of the United States along with Samsung Electronics, has also launched the project for the development of an IEEE 802.16e chipset for mobile WiMax that supports voice, video and data. It means that Motorola plans to expand its role to chipset manufacture beyond the production of mobile WiMax terminals and systems. The chipsets to be produced by Motorola will be used for the mobile WiMax commercial terminal of Motorola that will be supplied to communication providers in the North American region and Japan, including Sprint Nextel, in 2008. Intel is also accelerating its project for the development of mobile WiMax chipsets. Intel, which has already developed chipsets for mobile WiMax base stations, is planning to develop PCMCIA chipsets for notebooks. In particular, Intel is moving to develop one-chip style chipsets to be installed in mobile phones. Besides such mobile global companies as Samsung Electronics, Motorola and Intel, professional companies in the chipset field are also moving fast to develop mobile WiMax chipsets based on their independent technologies. Among them are Run Com of Israel that supplied mobile WiMax chipsets to Korea for testing, Sequence of France, GCT of South Korea and Amicus established by the Korean company Solitech in the United States. As Sprint Nextel selected WiBro as a 4G technology, WiBro has actually emerged as the gateway to 4G. As a result, WiBro chipset competition among global companies, including Samsung Electronics, is likely to be a barometer that will decide the direction of the 4G market initiative. King of Telecom Embraces WiBro WiBro has advanced into the United States, the world's largest communication market. This confirms that Korea is now leading the world's mobile communication revolution. Samsung Electronics concluded a strategic alliance with three leading American companies-Sprint Nextel, Intel and Motorola-for the launch of WiBro in the United States on August 8 in New York. It is the first time for South Korea to advance into the United States market. The US is widely referred to as the sovereign of communication. Sprint Nextel, the third-largest U.S. cellular service provider, plans to invest as much as $3 billion to commercially roll out the Internet-on-the-go services in 2008. Sprint aims to have 100 million people covered by the go-anywhere Internet application by 2008. A test service will be up and running by the fourth quarter of next year. Together with Intel and Motorola, Samsung will provide Sprint with base station equipment, terminals and chipsets for WiBro, which debuted in Korea late June. Samsung Electronics, which developed WiBro base station and terminals for the first time in the world, made a successful demonstration at the APEC held in Busan in November of last year, leading the international standardization of the WiBro technology. Through the business tie-up with Sprint, Samsung Electronics is to lead the U.S. next-generation backbone communication network, proving that it is a WiBro global leader. "This is a milestone decision. I am sure Sprint will play a pivotal role in the worldwide initiative for telecom renovation on the back of WiBro," Samsung President Lee Ki-tae said. He continued, "Sprint's move will have an impact far beyond U.S. Shores -- it will help WiBro tap into other nations down the road." Gary Forsee, CEO of Sprint, was quoted as saying, "Sprint will commercialize the WiBro service at the earliest date possible through its business tie-up with Samsung Electronics boasting of the top-class experience and technology in the WiBro field, providing customers with the next-generation wireless communication service." Magic of IT Korea President Lee of Samsung has long had a dream of exporting Korean-made communication equipment to the U.S. Market. He believes that the adoption of Korea's WiBro technology to be the backbone network of the most communication-intensive country in the world is a significant step. It will allow Korea to upgrade its Information Technology sector and other related industries. In particular, many countries in the world are now engaging in fierce competition for supremacy in the mobile communication technology since 3G. Against this background, Korea's WiBro has advanced boldly into the US communication market thanks to the IT839 policy propelled by the Ministry of Information and Communication. The speed of WiBro adoption into the global market is expected to gain further momentum, market analysts report. A Samsung Electronics spoke on this topic by saying, "As the United States, which had applied strict guidelines to foreign companies trying to advance into the US communication market, introduced the WiBro service, a number of other countries are expected to follow suit." Samsung has so far pushed for supply and commercialization of the WiBro service with nine major enterprises in seven countries including Italy, Croatia, the United States, Venezuela, Brazil and Japan. WiBro's advance into the U.S. market has is significant in that Korea has broken new ground in the IT field, following its creation of successful IT Korea Magic with the commercialization of CDMA, experts said. Market analysts further note that the global market volume of the WiBro system and terminals is expected to enjoy a rapid growth from 1.6 trillion won in 2007 to 3.8 trillion won, 6.6 trillion won in 2009 and further to 11.6 trillion won in 2010. Samsung Electronics has maintained close cooperation networks with small and medium-sized companies in various sectors. These companies supply WiBro equipment, parts and contents. These small and medium-sized Korean companies are expected to enter the U.S. market through WiBro's advancement. This means that the Korean economy has built a new foothold for a fresh take-off in the IT field. And if WiBro-related industries become more active, they could create about 270,000 jobs. A Samsung spokesman underscored this by saying, "WiBro's advance into the U.S. market is the IT Korea magic accomplished through close cooperation and partnerships among the government, small and medium-sized companies and Samsung Electronics. It will become the one to bring good fortune to Korea in the near future." Korea's commercialization of WiBro From June 30 this year, Korea Telecom (KT) started its commercial WiBro service in some parts of Gangnam-gu, Sinchon, Bundang, the subway line of Bundang, Seocho-gu and Songpa-gu. SK Telecom (SKT) launched the service in six hot zones, including such university towns as Anam-dong, Hanyang University and Sinchon. They plan to expand the available service area to all regions in Seoul and major towns in the metropolitan area by early next year. Thereafter, they plan to expand the service area further on a step-by-step basis, according to market demand. Considering the payment ability for communication and usage patterns, KT plans to introduce a variety of customer-tailored charge systems based on a fixed amount system. The two companies are also moving to produce PDA-type terminals, WiBro-embedded notebooks, mobile phones and DBDM (dual band dual mode)-type terminals that combine WiBro in the future. KT has set its target to attain 3.1 million in the number of WiBro subscribers and 1.2 trillion won (about $1.1 billion) in total sales in 2010. To expand its service coverage and early spread of the WiBro service to the whole market, KT plans to invest a total of 1.2 trillion won in the WiBro project. In the meantime, SKT plans to invest a total of 800 billion won during the period from 2005 to 2010. Samsung Electronics' WiBro strategy Samsung Electronics has set 2006 as the first year to expand the WiBro business globally in earnest. In 2006, Samsung plans to commercialize the WiBro business intensely and supply WiBro to major communication carriers in the world. After successfully introducing WiBro at the Turin Winter Olympics, Samsung concluded contracts in East Europe and the United States in April and May, respectively, for the WiBro commercial service. At present, Samsung is supplying or commercializing the WiBro service in seven countries-Korea, Italy, Croatia, the United States, Venezuela, Brazil, and Japan. "Since the nation's successful hosting of the APEC, major communication carriers in the world have been expressing keen interest in WiBro, requesting Samsung to offer the WiBro exemplary service. As a result, the nation's WiBro service is expected to rush into foreign markets this year," a Samsung spokesman said. In particular, Samsung Electronics has completed all necessary preparations for commercialization of WiBro, including terminal and system. Samsung's WiBro is now equipped with various conditions to advance into foreign markets. At the APEC held in Busan, the world's major communication carriers paid keen attention to mobile phones and smart phone-style WiBro terminals. Particularly, they were amazed at the fact that the WiBro service was perfect in a car moving at a speed of over 100 km per hour. As WiBro was officially adopted as the mobile WiMax, the broadband wireless access international technology standard, in December last year, WiBro is expected to emerge as one of the world's communication technologies from this year. If WiBro secures its firm position as an international standard technology, South Korea will become the standard of the world's mobile Internet market, raising the possibility of seizing leadership in the world's third-generation mobile communication market. Related to this, Samsung Electronics President Lee said, "WiBro will be the arms that Korea can show in the patents war of the world's communication market. Through globalization of WiBro, the pure locally developed communication technology, we will create the successful magic of Korea's IT." In recognition of its advanced WiBro technology, Samsung Electronics received best product and service prizes of the Infovision Award in the wireless Internet field at the Broadband World Forum Asia 2006 held at the Hong Kong Convention Center last May. But what is WiBro WiBro is the homegrown portable Internet that enables people on the move to remain hooked up to the Internet at the speed of the current fixed-line broadband. It boasts of the highest data transmission speed among mobile communication technologies. In commercializing WiBro, we will be able to download 36-page newspapers within 0.7 seconds and ten MP3 melodies within 24 seconds. The Korean government started developing the mobility-specific Internet technology in 2003 and showed off a prototype terminal December in 2004. WiBro has already earned global recognition as its format was handpicked as the global standard for go-anywhere Internet services. WiBro base stations will offer an aggregate data throughput of 30 to 50 Mbit/s and cover a radius of 1-5 km allowing for the use of portable internet usage within the range of a base station. From testing during the APEC Summit in Pusan in late 2005, the actual range and bandwidth were quite a bit lower than these numbers. The technology will also offer quality of service (QoS). The inclusion of QoS allows for WiBro to stream video content and other loss-sensitive data in a reliable manner. These all appear to be the stronger advantages over the WiMax standard, but the proprietary nature of WiBro and its use of licensed spectrum that may not be available across the globe may keep it from becoming an international standard. While WiBro is quite exacting in its requirements, from spectrum-use to equipment design, WiMax leaves much of this up to the equipment provider while providing enough detail to ensure interoperability between designs. WiBro can provide various multimedia-based services including such entertainment services as VOD, MOD, individual broadcasting, two-way games and advanced communication services, including VoIP, video calling and multilateral video conferencing. Comparison of Wi-Fi, WiMax and WiBro Mobile communication started from the first-generation analog era. Second-generation digital technology was introduced in the middle 1990s. After passing through the third-generation IMT-2000, we are now entering the initial stage of the 3.5-generation with HSDPA. Broadband wireless technology, which started from wireless LANs, has developed into the fixed WiMax and mobile WiMax technology. WiBro, the mobile WiMax technology, was commercialized in Korea in 2006 for the first time in the world. Such mobile communication technologies and broadband wireless technologies are expected to develop into the fourth-generation mobile communication in the future. Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity, refers to wireless LAN, in which PDAs or notebook computers can use high-speed Internet connections within a certain distance of the place where a link point is established. As its transmission speed is 4-11 Mbps, it can send and receive large quantities of multimedia information at cheap fees. KT's Nespot is based on the Wi-Fi technology. However, it falls far behind in terms of mobility owing to the drawback that the range of each base station is just 30 to 200 meters. WiMax is a wireless offering for people who are not on the move. It is broadly similar to Wi-Fi as both are based on hot spots, or areas around points in which people can share data or access the Internet without landlines. In comparison, WiBro enables people on the move to remain hooked to the Internet. WiBro is Korea's homegrown portable Internet service, widely known as mobile WiMax in the global market. Ubiquitous Future Today Under WiBro Commercialization When WiBro is commercialized, people will be able to enjoy super-speed wireless Internet without restrictions of time or space while moving at high speeds. For instance, people will be able to experience the future home through "WiBro robots" or enjoy watching movies while driving to the office. A future-oriented office where office workers can hold a video conference while seeing each other's faces on the screen will make its debut. WiBro will bring about a greater change in people's living than any other communication technology. WiBro is an important future technology that will open a new chapter of mobile convergence, the complex of mobile communication and super-speed Internet. WiBro is a stepping-stone to open an era of fourth generation technology in earnest and will lay the groundwork for 4G implementation, a Samsung spokesman said. WiBro implements orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), multi- input multi-output (MIMO) and smart antennas, which are the basic technologies of 4G. Such technology will help WiBro emerge as a favorite of the triple play services (TPS), which comprise voice, data and video, making the ubiquitous society a reality. A combination of local area communications, mobile telephones and VoIP with WiBro will create a paradigm of next-generation information communication. In the ubiquitous era, mobile phones will add such functions as photo capture, MP3 playback, DMB TV, exercise and health equipment to its existing functions. In a nutshell, people will be able to communicate easily and conveniently with just a single terminal. For instance, two-way communication between DMB broadcasting stations and viewers will be possible, enabling DMB broadcasters and TV viewers to exchange information with each other freely. When the 4G era comes, various paper tickets and documents are expected to disappear gradually. People can download electronic tickets and passports through terminals, making departure procedures and boarding a plane easier and faster. After all, if the fourth generation mobile communication is commercialized worldwide, the whole world would be in a single network. People can make contacts at anytime and anywhere in the world if they have a 4G terminal.

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