'Fourth generation' Internet arrives in Hong Kong

Nov 26 02:50 AM US/Eastern

The latest generation of wireless Internet that will allow people to watch a crystal clear movie or live sporting event on the street or atop a hill is being deployed throughout Hong Kong.

The Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will give super high speeds across the city and could mean the end of computers ever needing to be plugged into a wall for a connection to the net.

The so-called "fourth generation" system is being rolled out by Hong Kong mobile network operator CSL in partnership with telecoms equipment maker ZTE Corporation.

"The first launch of an LTE network any place in Asia is truly historic,"
Joseph O'Konek, CSL's chief executive, told AFP.

"For a lot of people, this will be their first experience of the Internet.
They are at a huge advantage to previous Internet generations because they are leapfrogging all those fixed line technologies.

"It is truly going to unleash the power of human networks as this kind of system rolls out more and more across the world."

LTE enables faster data downloads and uploads on mobile devices compared with a third-generation network.

The system will give speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and should make the high quality viewing of full length movies or realtime live sporting events possible anywhere in the city.

LTE networks are already operating in Europe, Scandinavia and North America.
Japan will have an LTE system before the end of the year and huge growth in LTE connections is expected over the next five years, especially in China.

Meanwhile CSL's owner, the Australian telecoms giant Telstra, said it is looking to make acquisitions to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Organic growth is always the best growth. But you do need to acquire new technology that's going to allow you to fuel the growth in the future,"
David Thodey, the company's CEO, told the Wall Street Journal.

"Sometimes you expand geographically... or sometimes you want to expand your market share. We will be doing all three because it's critically important for a company to keep pushing the limits as you go forward."

Copyright AFP 2010



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