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Mon, Jul 13, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Ericsson to invest US$1.5bn in South Korea for research

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Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks, plans to invest US$1.5 billion in South Korea over the next five years.

The company will set up a research center in South Korea to develop environmentally friendly and fourth-generation wireless technologies, chief executive officer Carl-Henric Svanberg said at a meeting in Stockholm with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the presidential Blue House said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Stockholm-based Ericsson also plans to increase the number of employees at its South Korean unit to 1,000 from 80, the statement said.

Lee, on a three-day visit to Sweden, said South Korea’s government was determined to provide a level playing field for foreign businesses to compete with local rivals.

The investment is expected to help boost South Korea’s competitiveness in the market for long-term evolution (LTE), high-speed wireless technology, backed by Ericsson, the statement said.

AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc are also opting for the standard.

Verizon Wireless, the biggest US cellphone company, aims to begin offering a high-speed network in all US regions by 2015 using LTE, which is scheduled to reach 30 markets by next year.

LG Electronics Inc, Asia’s No. 2 cellphone maker, said in December it developed a faster wireless chip used in mobile phones based on the technology.

The LTE market will be bigger than that of the rival WiMax technology, Skott Ahn, president of LG’s cellphone business, said at the time.

Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s second-largest mobile-phone maker, said last month it expected to increase network-equipment sales as more operators begin deploying the mobile WiMax wireless high-speed Internet service.

The Suwon, South Korea-based company has a share of about 35 percent of the mobile WiMax-equipment market, executive vice president Kim Woon-sub, who heads Samsung’s network business, said in an interview on June 24.

WiMax is competing with LTE to replace third-generation technology.

“Mobile WiMax will outpace LTE over the next few years due to its head start on deployments,” researcher In-Stat said in February. “Mobile WiMax already has commercial deployments, while LTE won’t be commercially available until late 2009.”

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