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Satellite DMB for Wireless

23rd February , 2004

ASIA Korea : SK Telecom announced that the construction of the world's first satellite for Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) called 'Han Byul' is completed, and it will be moved to the blast-off site.

The satellite for DMB has been under development at Space Systems Loral, located in Palo Alto Ca. in the U.S., since June of 2002. It was recently moved to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is ready for launch. This satellite was built in a joint effort between SK Telecom and Japan's Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBCO). This was in accordance with a contract for joint possession of a satellite, signed by the two companies in September 2003. The satellite is scheduled to be launched on the 12th of March this year.

The launch of this satellite is drawing keen attention from satellite operators and IT companies worldwide because it is the world's first satellite for DMB. Its launch has great significance in securing a leadership role in the DMB market for both Korea and Japan.

The Japanese government is making use of the satellite DMB business to leap forward in becoming a major IT power in the global market. The Japanese have already started selecting DMB service providers, and completing the revision of DMB-related broadcasting laws. Japan's MBCO obtained a preliminary business license in July last year from the government, and plans to offer the service soon after the launching of the satellite. However, the timing of SK Telecom's DMB service launch this year is not certain, due to the delay in revision of the Korean Broadcasting Law. In this regard, the satellite will possibly run idle again like the 'Mugunghwa Satellite' did in the past. This would cause a great loss of national prestige and resources.

Based on the coverage and the number of base stations each company will operate, SK Telecom and MBCO determined a satellite purchase ratio of 34.66%(SK Telecom), and 65.34%(MBCO) respectively. Therefore, SK Telecom will furnish about 94.5 billion Korean won, out of the total of 272.0 billion won required to cover the cost of satellite purchase, satellite launch, control tower operation, insurance, etc. Under this contract for joint operation of a satellite, SK Telecom will share satellite, insurance, ground control tower, and operational costs. This will result in a saving of about 150 billion won over the cost of operating a satellite on its own.

Jun Dong Bae, head of TU Media Corp., which is in charge of the satellite DMB business in Korea stated, "Developing terminals, and securing the satellite and a frequency for the satellite DMB business, is proceeding without a setback. When the satellite is launched next month, preparations for the service will be completed. In view of the DMB business's positive economic effect on the domestic industry, as well as the creation of new jobs due to activating this enterprise, we expect the Broadcasting Law will be revised during the extraordinary Assembly session in February ".

Satellite DMB is a new service that will allow subscribers to access all multimedia broadcast channels at any time and anywhere, via special receivers in mobile handsets and automobiles.

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