Rumors are swirling that Samsung Electronics has signed a contract to build a research center and a factory in China dedicated to the Korean mobile Internet platform called WiBro, or Mobile WiMax.

Local Chinese media report that Samsung agreed to set up the facilities in Hubei Province when its officials visited Seoul to take part in the Mobile WiMax Summit last week.

"Hubei officials met with Samsung President Lee Ki-tae during the event to sign the deal on the mobile Internet (WiBro)," the Hubei Daily said.

A Samsung spokesperson refused to give further details about the center and said that the company won't disclose the name of the partner from the China side, as requested by the Chinese government.

WiBro is a made-in-Korea technology which allows people on the road to remain hooked up to the Internet at the same speed as a fixed-line Internet connection. 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.

SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom have announced a partnership to roll out WiBro nationwide in Korea, excluding Seoul and six provincial cities, where independent networks will be rolled out.


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