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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - WiMAX set to launch nationwide

WiMAX set to launch nationwide

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090303_15.jpg

Wireless technology will target businesses across the country after official opening in the middle of 2009 allowing users to go online in rural areas without internet cabling

CHUAN Wei (Cambodia) Co Ltd is hoping to provide internet services to 80 percent of the country's businesses and organisations within two years of the planned launch of a WiMAX wireless broadband network, it said last month.

It is estimated there were around one million such customers in Cambodia.

The network, which is set for launch in mid-2009, will be deployed by Alcatel-Lucent in a deal announced at the Mobile World Congress in  Barcelona on February 17. The French firm will provide a complete turnkey solution for WiMAX, including integration, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance.

Chuan Wei's president, Alan Khov, said in a press release announcing the deal that the network will support high-quality voice telephony (VoIP) in addition to broadband access. "The network will provide significant infrastructural support to Cambodia's economic growth, improving communications for local businesses and multinationals," he said.

Alcatel-Lucent declined to comment on the financial details of the contract, and Chuan Wei officials could not be reached for further comment.

Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun said the ministry welcomed any telecoms operator that wished to set up in the country as competition would lead to lower prices for customers.

"We are one of the World Trade Organisation members, so we wish that many [telecoms firms] come and compete with each other," he said, adding that he did not expect the new network to threaten existing providers of VoIP services.

The network will provide ... infrastructural support to Cambodia's ... growth.

Revenue from overseas calls made via VoIP amounted to around US$40 million last year and would likely be the same this year, he said.

Chuan Wei, part of the Thai Boon Roong Ltd conglomerate, was established in June 2008 and has been awarded the sole licence to operate a nationwide WiMAX network in Cambodia.  However, it has been deployed in Cambodia on a local basis.

WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, enables the delivery of "last mile" wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL. It shows particular potential in bringing lower pricing to both home and business customers and in making broadband access available in places where it has been economically unavailable.

The network will use the WiMAX Rev-e (802.16e-2005 standard) wireless broadband standard, which Alcatel-Lucent uses in 10 of its 35 WiMax networks worldwide.

Alcatel also built a mobile phone network for Mobitel. 

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