Global Dispatches

An International IT News Digest

South Korea Allocates Spectrum for WiBro

TOKYO -- South Korea's government last week allocated spectrum in the 2.3-GHz band for a new breed of wireless Internet service called WiBro that's expected to deliver 1Mbit/sec. connections to mobile devices.

WiBro, short for wireless broadband, is similar to WiMax, another emerging wireless broadband technology. Both are part of the IEEE 802.16 family of wireless standards. But South Korea's homegrown WiBro technology can work with devices, such as laptops and handhelds, that are traveling at up to 70 kilometers per hour, whereas WiMax was designed for stationary receivers.

South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication, which set aside the spectrum for WiBro, said that it plans to offer licenses to three vendors in March and that it expects commercial services to start being offered in 2006.

But industry observers are worried about dueling technologies. Last week, the CEOs of Intel Corp. and Korea-based LG Electronics Inc. met in Seoul to discuss ways to merge the WiBro and WiMax technologies and avoid market segmentation.

-- Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

Australian Territory Plans VoIP Network

SYDNEY, Australia -- Australia's Northern Territory government plans to introduce IP telephony as part of a voice and data network overhaul that's expected to cost about $108 million (U.S.) over five years. The government is seeking bids from vendors for a contract that will cover all voice, data and Internet services for about 16,000 end users at 250 agency sites and 180 schools.

Brad Irvine, director of IT services management for the Northern Territory government, said the primary goal for implementing voice over IP is reducing the cost of long-distance carrier charges. "We feel we've picked a good time to go to market with VoIP, which is maturing and is a leading option for delivering more value for the money," he said. "Also, our consultants advise us that this is the way of the future."

-- Rodney Gedda, Computerworld Today (Australia)

Microsoft Beefs Up India Connections

BANGALORE, India -- Microsoft Corp. will hire several hundred staffers over the next 12 months for the software development and support operations at its new 28-acre campus near Hyderabad, India, CEO Steve Ballmer said last week during a three-day trip to the country. But Ballmer said the additional hiring won't lead to job losses in the U.S.

Microsoft also announced separate partnerships with Bangalore-based IT outsourcing firms Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Wipro Ltd.

Microsoft and Infosys signed an $8 million pact to combine Microsoft's .Net software with consulting services from Infosys to help companies implement product development, retail and radio frequency identification projects.

Compiled by Mitch Betts.

Briefly Noted

Iberbanda SA, a wireless operator in Madrid, has begun to install WiMax wireless broadband technology supplied by Alvarion Ltd., according to a spokeswoman for Tel Aviv-based Alvarion. Iberbanda is targeting business and residential customers in the Andalusia and Catalonia regions of Spain.

• John Blau, IDG News Service

Red Hat Inc. recently opened its first office in China. The Beijing office will work closely with other IT vendors in the area and support Linux education programs at Tsinghua University and Nanjing University.

• Stacy Cowley, IDG News Service

SAP AG has implemented its Defense & Security suite of ERP and supply chain software for the German Bundeswehr, which includes all of Germany's armed forces.

• John Blau, IDG News Service

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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