Samsung plans to release a cell phone that supports mobile WiMax next year.

The dual-mode handset will work on both WiMax and GSM networks, and will be available worldwide, said Hwan Woo Chung, vice president of Samsung's mobile WiMax group, in an interview at the CommunicAsia exhibition in Singapore.

"The first model will come during the first half of '07," Chung said, commenting that the handset underscores Samsung's backing for mobile WiMax technology. At the same conference, Samsung also announced plans to sell enterprise equipment.

WiMax is a wireless technology that offers the promise of high-speed connections over a greater area than is possible with Wi-Fi. Fixed-wireless and mobile versions of the technology are being developed, with the fixed-wireless version seen as a replacement for wired broadband connections, such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber line).

Samsung's mobile WiMax technology is capable of downlink speeds up to 10.2 Mbit/s while travelling at 120 km/hour (75 miles/hour). By the third quarter of 2007, the company expects to push downlink speeds higher, to a maximum of nearly 40 Mbit/s, Chung said.

At CommunicAsia, a Samsung Mobile WiMax demonstration showed a notebook with a WiMax PCMCIA card and several WiMax-equipped PDAs, surfing the Internet, downloading videos, and sharing files with other users.

Outside the exhibition circuit, Samsung is already working with operators in several countries to test mobile WiMax networks, including South Korea, where local operators will launch commercial services based on the technology at the end of this month, Chung said.