Commentary: Is there a place for LTE in Taiwan?
Irene Chen, Taipei; Steve Shen, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 4 March 2009]
Although a number of the leading telecom equipment providers, including Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, are urging the Taiwan government to look at the development of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, there are no signs indicating the possibility of an official policy shift to switch its current focus from WiMAX.
The government is well known for its aggressive policy to push for the deployment of the WiMAX industry – a firm policy that has won support from chip giant Intel as one of Taiwan's WiMAX strategic allies.
The planned WiMAX joint venture being organized by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and Intel is reportedly to kick off operations in the first quarter or early in the second quarter this year.
Industry watchers are wondering if the planned WiMAX joint venture will play a key role to revitalize the WiMAX industry which is currently under pressure due to increasing endorsement for LTE by global industry players.
Alcatel-Lucent, with regards to the successful operation of its WiMAX IOT (interoperability testing) center in Taiwan, has said that it is looking at the possibility of setting up a similar facility for LTE CPE devices on the island in 2010.
Ericsson Taiwan has also said that its IOT center in Taiwan will be ready to offer interoperability testing services for LTE CPE products rolled out by Taiwan hardware makers if the Taiwan government decides to release LTE licenses to telecom service providers on the island. Ericsson's IOT center is now offering interoperability testing services for GSM, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPA mobile devices.
The government had previously earmarked a total of NT$7 billion (US$199.4 million) to push the Mobile Taiwan (M-Taiwan) program aiming at greater WiMAX coverage on the island.
Foreign telecom equipment providers are hence calling for the Taiwan government to review the release of wireless frequency bands and consequently to release LTE licenses in order to accelerate the development of LTE technology.