LG looks at WiMax--and U.S. culture

Korean company teams with Nortel on emerging wireless standard, and opens a research center to study American culture.

CNET News staff
LG Electronics is bolstering its wireless efforts with a WiMax deal and a North American move.

The Korean company is joining forces with Nortel Networks to develop products based on WiMax, an emerging radio technology designed to provide high-speed Internet access over distances measured in miles rather than feet. As services emerge in 2006 or 2007, WiMax may challenge cable companies and DSL providers in offering broadband connectivity.

Under the agreement, Nortel is developing software to make GSM- and CDMA-based mobile phones from LG broadband-ready using 802.16e, a WiMax standard meant for mobile devices such as laptops and wireless phones. These WiMax-enabled LG phones are expected to be ready for trials in the second half of 2006, the companies said.

Separately, LG announced that its mobile phone unit is setting up a research and development center in San Diego to design new handsets for the North American market. The company hopes that the new center will help its engineers work closely with leading U.S. wireless carriers and tap into the latest trends in culture and style.

LG has similar facilities in Beijing, Moscow, Paris and Bangalore, India. To diversify its worldwide R&D staff, it plans to recruit more than 30 percent of its 5,000 global research engineers from outside Korea.

The announcements came in conjunction with the CTIA Wireless show taking place in New Orleans.