Clearwire is reportedly in talks with Global Mobile, one of six mobile WiMAX licensees in Taiwan. The strategic alliance may result in Clearwire taking an equity stake in Global Mobile, says Telecoms. Global Mobile is expected to secure a permit from Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) by the end of this month that will enable it to start installing its WiMAX network
Six 2.5GHz WIMAX licences in Taiwan were awarded in July 2007 – three for the northern part of the island and three for the southern part – but none has yet managed to launch commercial service. Lack of funding, combined with the economic downturn, has been the main reason for the delay. The companies include Far EasTone, First International Telecom, Global Mobile, Tatung, VMAX Telecom, and Vastar Cable TV System.
- Far EasTone announced this week that Motorola had been awarded additional contracts to expand FarEastone’s WiMAX network in Taichung. Motorola will deploy its WAP base stations. Far EasTone, whose WiMAX licence covers a southern province, is the island’s third biggest mobile operator in terms of subscribers.
- First International Telecom (Fitel), has already confessed that its serious financial problems could jeopardize its prospects of even making it to a commercial launch unless it can attract new investment. Fitel said earlier that it planned to raise an additional capital of about NT$2 billion (US$65.8 million) by selling new shares to foreign private investors, but Taiwan’s NCC rejected the application by Fitel to spin off its WiMAX business.
- Tatung InfoComm looks like it will be the first out of the gate. Holding a licence for some counties in the southern region of Taiwan, the company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiwanese conglomerate Tatung, says it will start commercial WiMAX service on the Penghu Islands on 27th April.
- VMAX – whose licence covers a northern province – was buoyed by an investment commitment of NT$386m from Intel Capital in October 2008. It says it is on course to launch commercial WiMAX service in either Q2 or Q3 this year.
The M-Taiwan project is a government initiative to accelerate WiMAX ecosystem development and create a nation-wide broadband network.