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Korea Telecom, PicoChip Push WiBro/WiMAX Access Points

Some see it as a harbinger of mobile broadband wireless things to come.

Korea Telecom (KT) and picoChip Friday jointly announced that their partnership will develop WiBro/WiMAX access points.

Called femtocells, the access points utilize picoChip's multi-core DSP. KT is developing WiBro and plans to deploy the technology throughout South Korea. The Korean service provider has a non-exclusive contract with picoChip, whose president and CEO Guillaume d'Eyssautier noted that the technology could be rolled out globally.

"picoChip provides the underlying technology," said d'Eyssautier in an interview. "picoChip's strategy is to provide WiMAX solutions at all levels of the value chain."

PicoChip, based in the U.K., utilizes its powerful and versatile PC20x family of processors for the KT contract. The PC20x signal processor enables a single chip WiMAX BS PHY with integrated ARM for upper layer protocols, according to the company. More than 300 processors are included in the KT product, giving the access points under development great versatility, said d'Eyssautier. "You can do many different things with the chip," said d'Eyssautier, noting that software can be added for different functions.

WiMAX home base stations are being considered as an advanced step to Wi-Fi and 3G even as those wireless technologies are in the midst of expansion. Looking ahead, d'Eyssautier said WiBro is likely to initially complement Wi-Fi, but should compete with Wi-Fi later.

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