KT, the second-largest mobile carrier in Korea, will likely start selling a version of the Galaxy Tab that runs on the WiBro network, saying yesterday that it views such a move favorably.
Currently, the Galaxy Tab is only available through SK Telecom and LG U+ on 3G and Wi-Fi networks. But industry observers have speculated that KT is gearing up to offer a version of the popular Samsung Electronics tablet PC that utilizes WiBro technology. An official with KT told Yonhap News Agency yesterday that the firm is “positively reviewing” plans to sell such a device.
WiBro, which stands for wireless broadband, differs from Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) in that it allows users to get solid Internet connections even while in moving vehicles.
It’s also normally cheaper and faster at playing videos than service provided over the 3G network.
The Korea Communications Commission, the state-run telecommunications regulator, recently certified a radio wave for a new Galaxy Tab model preloaded with WiBro capabilities. Many observers have speculated that the move is a prelude to a KT plan to offer a version of the Galaxy Tab that runs on WiBro.
Market watchers are keeping a close eye on the situation because KT could become the first company here to offer a major tablet PC that supports WiBro capabilities. Apple’s iPad, released in April in the United States and November in Korea, is available only in 3G and Wi-Fi models.
The move could help the Galaxy Tab solidify its dominance in the local tablet PC market. According to the latest industry figures, some 100,000 people in Korea have subscribed for Galaxy Tab service, while the figure for the iPad is about half that total.
The move by KT to sell a WiBro-compatible Galaxy Tab could also help secure the future of the network. KT has invested heavily in WiBro, seeing it as the best network to handle the rapidly increasing amount of data transmissions over wireless systems.
“Success of tablet PCs that utilize WiBro service could help diffuse the surge in data traffic,” said an industry source.
Some observers also note how the move could signify that Samsung has mended relations with KT. The relationship between the two companies soured after KT became Apple’s sole partner in the Korean market late last year.
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