The GSM Association (GSMA) has suggested to the government of Taiwan that the country should move away from WiMAX and focus instead on LTE, in order to take advantage of the economies of scale provided by the now mainstream next generation mobile standard.
Taiwan has been a big backer of WiMAX technology, predominantly due to the backing of global computer chip maker Intel. The country has no less than six WiMAX operators: FarEasTone, Fitel, Global Mobile, Tatung, Vee Telecom, and VMAX Telecom.
However, local confidence in the technology has been shaken since Intel closed its Taiwanese WiMAX office in 2010.
WiMAX has seen its global market share greatly shrink over recent years, while globally LTE has dominated operators’ agendas over the last 12 months.
“Although local demand will drive the WiMAX market, given the smaller market size in terms of lower demand, it is in Taiwan’s best interest to focus on the manufacturing of HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) wireless networking and LTE equipment rather than WiMAX equipment,” Chris Perera, GSMA director of spectrum policy and regulatory affairs for the Asia Pacific region told the second 4G International Forum in Taipei.
Perera also offered called upon the local regulator, the National Communications Commission (NCC), make it easier for local WiMAX operators deploy spectrum best suited for LTE, such as the 700MHz band.
“The NCC’s most important task is to ensure that the reallocation of spectrum in the 700MHz band is as efficient as possible. The regulator must also facilitate changes in WiMAX operators’ licensing conditions to deploy LTE,” she said.
Recently, Michael Lai, of Malaysian operator Packet One told Telecoms.com that it plans to refarm 20MHz of its 2.3GHz bandwidth from WIMAX to LTE. Lai also hopes to gain access to 700MHz spectrum for LTE as soon as it becomes available.