SAN DIEGO -- Nov. 15, 1999 -- Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, today announced it has signed an agreement to invest approximately $200 million in Korea Telecom Freetel (KT Freetel), one of the world's fastest-growing and largest Personal Communications Services (PCS) operators. Upon successfully completing technical and marketing trials of High Data Rate (HDR) technology, KT Freetel is expected to deploy HDR in its major markets. The transaction is expected to close later this month.
Since introducing the first IS-95B system in September of this year, KT Freetel has seen demand for wireless voice and data connectivity grow rapidly. KT Freetel believes that HDR provides the fastest, most cost-efficient solution to address the demand for wireless data services. Technical trials of HDR are expected to begin in the middle of 2000, and the marketing trials and commercial rollout are expected to occur during 2001.
"KT Freetel's network provides our customers with superior voice and data access rates of up to 64 Kbps," said Sang-Chul Lee, president and CEO, KT Freetel. "When we look at our customers' future needs, we see an increasing demand for cost-effective wireless Internet access, and especially, the fastest wireless Internet access possible. HDR is the technology that allows us to deliver this service to our customers."
"The opportunity for cellular and PCS carriers around the world to provide cost-effective, high-speed wireless Internet access is extraordinary," said Irwin M. Jacobs, chairman and CEO, Qualcomm. "We are very excited that KT Freetel has taken a leadership role to satisfy the demands of this large market in Korea, and we look forward to working with them closely to make the implementation of HDR technology a success."
Initial HDR network trials will incorporate evaluations of HDR's air-link performance, advanced feature sets, decentralized Internet Protocol (IP)-based architecture and highly integrated access points. HDR supports e-mail, web browsing, e-commerce, telematics and many other applications while offering end-users continuous, untethered access to the Internet and next generation data services. HDR's versatility allows the technology to be embedded in handsets, laptops and handheld computers, and other fixed, portable and mobile devices. KTF will select equipment manufacturers to support the initial trials and subsequent commercial deployment. Qualcomm is committed to working with KTF's selected suppliers to enable them to deliver commercial HDR products as quickly as possible.
HDR provides a spectrally efficient 2.4 Mbps peak rate in a standard 1.25 MHz channel bandwidth. Optimized for packet data services, HDR incorporates a flexible architecture based on standard Internet Protocols (IP). HDR's IP-based architecture allows flexible implementation of this wireless system in high-performance and cost-effective ways. As a complementary solution to voice networks utilizing operator's existing cell sites, towers, antennas and network equipment, HDR technology allows operators to leverage their current infrastructure investment and cellular/Personal Communication Services (PCS) networks. HDR can also be implemented as a stand-alone system using off-the-shelf IP backbone equipment. HDR is compatible with IS-95A, IS-95B and future cdma2000™ networks, enabling existing cdmaOne™ and cdma2000 service providers to obtain higher capacities and superior performance by optimizing voice and data spectrum separately, serving both applications from the same network.
Qualcomm Incorporated (www.qualcomm.com) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on the Company's CDMA digital technology. The Company's major business areas include CDMA phones; integrated CDMA chipsets and system software; technology licensing; and satellite-based systems including OmniTRACS® and portions of the Globalstar™ system. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm is included in theS&P500 Index and is a 1999 FORTUNE 500® company traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol QCOM.
With over four million PCS subscribers in Korea, Korea Telecom Freetel Co. Ltd.(www.n016.com) is emerging as one of the world's fastest growing and largest PCS operators. KT Freetel's concept of Personal Network Services (PersNet®) is being realized, enabling high-speed wireless internet access and interactive data communications. PersNet allows customers to take advantage of electronic commerce, on-line stock trading, on-line banking, and travel reservations via access to the internet through CDMA handsets.
Except for the historical information contained herein, this news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including the risk that the transactions contemplated by the agreement may not close, that the technical and marketing trials may not be successful, change in economic conditions of the various markets the Company serves, as well as the other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports, including the report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 26, 1999, and most recent Form 10-Q.
Qualcomm and OmniTRACS are registered trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated. cdmaOne is a trademark of the CDMA Development Group. cdma2000 is a trademark of the Telecommunications Industry Association. Globalstar is a trademark of Loral Qualcomm Satellite Services, Incorporated. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.