Korea Telecom, the government-run telecom company of South Korea, announced Aug. 14 that it will launch a Mobitex wireless data service next year similar to Mobitex networks operating in the U.S. and 13 other countries.

With the development of the system, South Korea will join the Mobitex Operators Association (MOA), which is composed of the operating companies in the different countries.  MOA’s president is Jim Hobbs, a vice president of Atlanta-based Bell South Mobile Data, a Mobitex user and holder of equity interests in several systems around the world.

“Korea has a large, booming economy and the fact that Korea Telecom selected Mobitex is very significant,” said Mr. Hobbs, adding that MOA would assist Korea Telecom in the development of its system.

According to Mr. Hobbs, there are more Mobitex networks operating globally than any other mobile data network technology.  Mobitex was launched in the U.S. in 1992 and is operated by the world’s largest, single Mobitex network, RAM Mobile Data USA Limited Partnership in Woodbridge, N.J.  L.M. Ericsson and Swedish Telecom first developed the service in the mid-1980s.

Mobitex mobile data networks also are in operation or under development in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Chile, Australia, Poland and Singapore.

“These networks provide secure, reliable and fast two-way data communication to and from a mobile terminal,” said Mr. Hobbs.  “Systems can be customized and tailored and the user is only charged for the amount of data transmitted and not the amount of time spent using the system.”

Some of Mobitex’s applications include public safety, fleet dispatch and transportation, sales force automation and wireless electronic mail.  Mobitex also provides automatic, nationwide roaming.  As long as the radio modem is on, according to Mr. Hobbs, the network will locate the user anywhere within the coverage area and relay messages.  In Europe, users may travel from country to country and still receive their messages.

For more information, Mr. Hobbs may be reached at BellSouth Mobile Data, (404) 249-4321.