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RealTime IT News

To Russia, With WiMax

MOSCOW -- Russian fixed-line operator Comstar UTS plans to develop the first mobile WiMax network in Russia with Intel and aims to launch the super-fast wireless broadband at the end of 2008.

Comstar said it signed an agreement with Intel, which foresees cooperation in network development first in the Moscow region and then in other areas of Russia.

"We see this as a very promising technology and think the combination of wire and wireless access is optimal," Comstar Vice-President for Strategy Alexander Gorbunov told Reuters by telephone.

"There are preconditions on the market that mobile WiMax will appear within a year, and by the time we build the network Intel will be able to ship WiMax embedded laptops to Russia."

Mobile WiMax is an emerging high-speed wireless standard which is expected to support access to large amounts of data, such as movies and multi-media content.

Gorbunov said Comstar and Intel intended to enable high penetration of laptops with embedded mobile WiMAX/Wi-Fi module and a simple connection system.

He said Comstar planned to invest "tens of millions of dollars" in the network construction in Moscow and added that the company was confident the project would pay back soon.

"We count on a mass market and estimate that the average revenue per user will be $10-$20 per month," Gorbunov said.

Comstar, part of services conglomerate Sistema, provides voice, data, Internet, pay-TV and other services. It has 452,600 broadband Internet subscribers in Moscow.