Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - Page 12 News List

WiMAX users eye rival standard

LOSING GROUND:A Quanta Computer source says WiMAX is going downhill. Meanwhile LTE, which is being adopted in the West, looks likely to be the standard in China and India

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s No. 3 telecoms operator, yesterday launched an LTE lab to provide testing and verification services for local chipmakers and suppliers of mobile device and networking equipment before launch, lending support to the 4G wireless standard.

“WiMAX is still developing ... But we see that LTE is fast evolving and we want to embrace these technology evolutions, too,” Douglas Hsu (徐旭東), chairman of Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), which owns Far EasTone, told a press conference. “We will adopt the standard that finally wins out.”

Taiwanese telecoms operators, including Far EasTone, began commercial operations of WiMAX, which competes with LTE for 4G mainstream technology, early last year to a lukewarm consumer response.

There are two major LTE standards running on different wireless spectrums: FDD-LTE and TD-LTE.

TD-LTE is backed by China Mobile Ltd (中國移動), the world’s largest mobile service provider in terms of subscriber numbers.

Another WiMAX operator, Global Mobile Corp (全球一動), recently said it would slowly move toward TD-LTE, with the commercial launch likely to take between three and five years.

Backing WiMAX technology, Taiwan’s telecoms regulator has not set a timetable to auction any LTE licenses yet for local companies to deploy the network.

TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are compatible with the same handset/PC chip, so devices can access both networks. It is understood that -upgrading from WiMAX to TD-LTE is cheaper and easier than upgrading from WiMAX to FDD-LTE.

Taiwanese electronics and component makers — including HTC Corp (宏達電), Acer Inc (宏碁) and MediaTek Inc (聯發科) — are also tapping the emergence of TD-LTE on the possibility that the standard will be adopted by the world’s two most populous markets — China and India.

“WiMAX is going downhill,” said a person at Quanta Computer Inc (廣達), the world’s No. 1 contract maker of laptop computers. “We must now prepare for a complete TD-LTE ecosystem in order not to miss out on the future business potential.”

The executive asked not to be named because he was speaking without authorization.

The possibility that users in China and India will use TD-LTE makes the standard a possible cash cow, so this standard will overshadow FDD-LTE, which is being adopted in the West, he said.

Quanta has a series of TD-LTE product developments in the pipeline, such as tablets, dongles and routers.

China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou (王建宙) yesterday said at a live teleconference that the company looks forward to working with Taiwanese telecoms operators, network equipment and end-device makers to propel the TD-LTE standard to a greater height.

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