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Globe, Intel launch WiMAX service in RP

Globe Telecom and Intel Philippines announced Thursday the official rollout of Globe's commercial Worldwide Interoperability For Microwave Access (WiMAX) service in the country, which is the first ever WiMAX service in the Philippines.

Globe Consumer Broadband Group Head Menchi Orlina said Globe's WiMAX service is the company's attempt to "democratize the Internet" by providing the service in areas where high-speed Internet access is difficult.

"We want to make the Internet more ubiquitous and pervasive for all Filipinos. For as low as P795 a month, consumers can now have high-speed wireless broadband Internet access in areas where Internet penetration has been difficult," she said in a press conference.

Unlike Wi-Fi services that only provide lower bandwidth applications such as e-mail and basic browsing, WiMAX can provide speeds of up to 1 Mbps which is 33 percent faster than commercially available Wi-Fi services. This is because WiMAX is built on advanced wireless technology that counteract the effects of interference to deliver more data at greater ranges.

As of June 2009, Globe's WiMAX service is already available in Camanava, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Quezon in Luzon; Cebu province, Bacolod, Dumaguete and Silay City in the Visayas; and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.

Orlina said that by year-end, Globe is planning to expand its WiMAX service to the whole of National Capital Region and Rizal province, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, pampanga, Bulacan, South Luzon, Bataan in Luzon; Cebu Province, Bohol, Iloilo, Leyte, Guimaras, Capiz, Negros Island in the Visayas; and Zamboanga, Compostela Valley, Agusan province, Lanao, Surigao, Cotabato province and General santos City in Mindanao.

Orlina said subscribers can choose from three WiMAX plans: P795/month for 512 kbps Internet only, P995/month for 512 kbps plus landline and P1,295 for 1 Mbps plus landline.

According to Intel Philippines Country Manager for Sales and Marketing Ricky Banaag, some 100 Intel employees started testing WiMAX technology in Cavite as early as four years ago. He said WiMAX service has also been launched in Greenbelt Center in Makati.

Navin Shenoy, vice-president for the sales and marketing group and general manager of Intel Asia-Pacific, said the launch of Globe Broadband's commercial WiMAX service "ushers in the 4G era in the country.

He said Internet usage in the region has been steadily growing despite the recession due to the increase in Internet-capable mobile devices such as iPhones and laptops. Unfortunately, he also noted that broadband penetration in the Philippines has been unevenly distributed, affecting only urban centers.

"Globe Telecom has the distinction of being the first telco to use WiMAX technology in the Philippines, which will meet growing demand for high speed Internet service. The Philippines now joins 135 countries that is offering commercial WiMAX services to consumers," he told reporters.

Shenoy said one driver of WiMAX adoption in the future is the embedding of WiMAX chips to notebooks, netbooks and other mobile devices.

He said that in Russia, one telco signed up to 76,000 subscribers one month after launching its WiMAX service. "On the other hand, telcos in Japan are planning to have nationwide WiMAX coverage by 2012," he said. (abs-cbnnews.com)

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