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Thursday, November 11, 2004
Video mobile phones to hit Korean market

Video mobile phones will make their debut in Korea this month at the earliest.

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it had succeeded in developing a new W-CDMA mobile phone model, the W120, which was smaller and lighter than other current third-generation wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) mobile phone models, and that mobile phone companies were testing it. The company added it planned to release the model on the market late this month at the earliest, or in December at the latest. LG Electronics, which has already exported W-CDMA mobile phones, is considering a plan to put them on the domestic market.

The W120 model is the world?s first ?dual band dual mode? mobile phone based on both CDMA technology and W-CDMA technology that enables video telephony. The country?s two largest electronics companies put W-CDMA mobile phones on the market late last year. Sales, however, were poor because mobile phone companies set up W-CDMA base stations and relay equipment only in big cities, which made it impossible to use the phones in other small cities.

The new W120, however, has both CDMA and W-CDMA functions, so people can use it even in the cities that do not have W-CDMA facilities, using existing CDMA facilities. Its price is between W800,000 and W1 million, but the government allows mobile phone companies to subsidize a maximum 40 percent of the price. This means that the phones with video telephony functions would be purchasable at the price of luxury phones currently on the market (W600,000 to 700,000).

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