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Plans to Build Mobile Paradise
South Korea plans to construct a "mobile paradise,'' a special district next year, where people will be able to enjoy a seamless service from the world's latest wireless technologies.
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Wednesday revealed the grandiose scheme, dubbed the M1 (Mobile No. 1) project, as part of its annual business plan.
"All existing and burgeoning mobile technologies in this planet will be used in the special district, which will be designated later,'' MIC assistant minister Suk Ho-ick said.
"The special district is kind of a free technology zone that will create a new mobile environment. It will play the role of test-bed for up-and-coming wireless platforms,'' Suk added.
Included in the available techniques will be all mobile broadcasting systems like DVB-H developed by Nokia, Qualcomm's MediaFlo and the home-grown digital multimedia broadcasting.
In addition, citizens there will be free to use every next-generation telecom platform such as time division-synchronous code division multiple access (TD-SCDMA), WiBro and a global system for mobile communications (GSM).
Most of the aforementioned platforms have been unavailable in Korea, where CDMA technology was the mainstream system for wireless communications.
"Korea became a global mobile behemoth thanks to its relentless pursuit of CDMA, the single national standard, over the past decade. Hereafter, the M1 project will be sure to pave the way for a second-phased growth,'' Suk expected.
Under the bold scheme, the ministry aims at achieving 100-percent mobile literacy here as well as substantially expanding the country's presence in the global market.
"We are seeking to supply roughly 30 percent of the global market for mobile terminals and approximately half of the components market by 2010,'' he noted.
Upgraded Growth Scheme
Besides the mobile special district venture, the MIC decided to upgrade its growth strategy.
In 2004, the ministry phased in a new growth tactic of nurturing eight new services, three infrastructures and nine hardware-related businesses under the title IT839.
Then, it streamlined the long-term plan, rearranging its portfolio _ adding new prominent growth phases like IT services and radio tags to the lineup _ and re-titled the plan u-IT839
"This new project will enable us to crank out products worth 576 trillion won by 2010 and create additional values of 266 trillion won by the cited period,'' Suk said.
The MIC is also striving to counter side effects caused by fast-developing high-tech fields. Toward that end, the ministry earmarked 43.7 billion won for this year to bridge the widening digital divide, or gaps between information "haves'' and "have-nots.''
The budget will be funneled into such tasks as educating the old, the disabled or North Korean defectors in the latest information technology (IT) and mandating the construction of the high-speed Internet network in rural areas where more than 30 households are located.
In addition, the ministry reaffirmed its promise to start the Internet real-name system this year to help prevent cyber crime such as libel.
In the first phase, those who post messages on large Web portal sites will be obliged to use their real names instead of pseudonyms this year.
Critics contend that the real name format will irritate ordinary Web users while failing to catch elusive Internet criminals. They also argue the plan violates constitutional rights on free speech.
But a majority of Koreans have sided with the real-name formula as unscrupulous persons continue to commit crimes in the virtual world, hiding in their anonymity.