Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Global Mobile to launch WiMAX service next year

DIGITAL PROMISE The new company plans to offer a variety of content, such as sports, drama, news and gaming once its WiMAX infrastructure is completed

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

The former chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard Taiwan yesterday announced the establishment of a new company that will provide a platform for digital content using WiMAX technology next year.

"We firmly believe that digital content will become the next local industry to generate more than NT$1 trillion [US$30.6 billion]," said Rosemary Ho (何薇玲) at a ceremony to launch Global Mobile Corp (全球一動).

The move follows the successful bid in July by Global On Corp (創一投資), a venture capital firm chaired by Ho, for a government license to operate Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) service in northern Taiwan.

The annual output value of the digital content industry worldwide is estimated at US$160 billion, and Taiwan can play a leading role in the sector by offering content via WiMAX technology, which allows users to access a variety of content wherever they go, said Ho, who is also Global Mobile Corp's chairwoman.

Infrastructure for the WiMAX platform will be completed in the fourth quarter next year, which is a good time to launch the service, she said.

Global Mobile will offer content in four main categories: sports, drama, news and digital games.

The company has 12 content partners, including media outlets Era Digital Media (年代數位媒體), Eastern Broadcasting Co (東森電視) and Videoland Inc (緯來電視網); the nation's largest online game provider, Soft-World International Corp (智冠科技); and Green Paddy Animation Studio (青禾動畫).

Main sources of income for the company will be subscription, value-added services such as online gaming and subscription for special programs, Ho said.

Global Mobile is still raising funds to meet its target capital of NT$5 billion, Ho said.

Major investors include big-name electronics companies and content providers, she said, adding that a complete investor portfolio will be announced by the end of the year.

Soft-World International chairman Wang Chin-po (王俊博) said the company had invested in Global Mobile with an eye on the business potential of offering online PC games to consumers on the go.

He declined to comment on its investment capital.

Chiu Fu-sheng (邱復生), chairman of Era Digital Media, confirmed that the company is an investor in Global Mobile.

Global Mobile is working with software and hardware partners in building its infrastructure, including base stations, and advancing mobile technology to allow transmission to vehicles moving at 100kph, Ho said.

Another key to winning is to introduce customer-premises equipment (CPE) -- including handsets, personal digital assistants, laptops and TV sets -- that support WiMAX technology, Ho said.

Samsung Electronics Co, for example, released three new mobile WiMAX CPE devices in April.

To lure subscribers, Global Mobile will also work with local equipment providers to offer WiMAX-enabled devices, she said.

As Global Mobile only has a license to operate WiMAX service in regions north of Miaoli County, Ho does not rule out forging alliances with WiMAX operators in the south.

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation's second-largest mobile-phone carrier, home appliance maker Tatung Co (大同) and Vastar Cable TV System Corp (威達有線電視) won the right to operate in southern Taiwan.

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