UDPATE: Yesterday, the Korean government issued an official statement, saying that Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) plans to invest 2 trillion Korean won (US$1.52 billion) over the next five years, and increase its headcount in South Korea from 80 to 1,000. But this morning an Ericsson spokesperson tells Light Reading that it is not true. “The information is not accurate. We have no specific plans on investment.” Ericsson does plan to establish a new center there to the develop and test of new applications for a green economy, and it is in its early stages of looking to identify synergies with Korean companies, such as those that are highly advanced in chipset development and robotics.
The initial report was perceived as a big deal because Ericsson, the world’s largest wireless network equipment manufacturer, said today it will invest $1.5 billion in South Korea to develop a flavor of mobile broadband technology that may compete with an already operational network in the country. According to the South Korean government, the Swedish company said it was going to spend the money over the next five years and use it to set up a research and development facility there that will help develop LTE. While LTE has early support from carriers such as Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), South Korean operators were early to roll out 4G networks based on WiBro, which a flavor of WiMax.
Ericsson’s moves today will only increase the debate on whether WiMax, which is mainly supported by Clearwire (NSDQ: CLWR) in the U.S., or LTE will be the dominant mobile broadband standard going forward.
Kim Dong Joon, an analyst at Seoul-based Good Morning Shinhan Securities told Bloomberg: