NEC Corp. announced that its Mobile WiMAX pilot system for Thailand’s Crown Prince Hospital Foundation has begun operation. The contract was awarded to NEC in August 2008 to set up a WiMAX network between Chiang Khong Crown Prince Hospital, a large community hospital located in the country’s northern region, and its affiliated primary care units (PCU).

The Chiang Khong Crown Prince hospital WiMAX services provide wireless broadband communications to locations within a maximum of five kilometers, which currently includes three affiliated PCUs, and expands communications beyond fixed analog telephone lines to include new video and TV phone services that can assist with remote medical consultation.

Patients that were formerly limited to visiting only major hospitals for certain treatments will now be able to receive quality care from the convenience of a local clinic. Furthermore, the efficiency of daily medical care will also improve by granting doctors access to high speed transmission for large capacity data, including images and information forwarded from PCUs for consultation.

The project’s cost-effectiveness will be evaluated after one year of operation to explore the possibility of expanding the WiMAX system to cover all 20 Crown Prince Hospitals throughout the country. NEC will monitor the success of Chiang Khong’s remote medical care system in order to determine the best way to introduce new WiMAX services to other Foundation affiliates.