Taiwan’s WiMax future in doubt

October 6, 2016

Telecoms operators in Taiwan have warned that WiMax could prove too costly to install and may not work in built-up areas.

Last week, Taiwan’s six WiMax service providers considered teaming up to buy WiMax equipment in bulk as a way of reducing costs.

The six providers – Vastart Cable TV Network Co, First International Telecom Corp, Global Mobile Corp, Tatung InfoComm, Far EasTone Telecommunications, and VMAX Telecom – met to talk about the possibility of jointly procuring base station equipment.

Together the companies hoped to increase their bargaining power and secure volume discounts – potentially halving the costs of base stations.

However, this week doubt has been cast over the whole future of WiMax in Taiwan, with two companies warning that, even with joint procurement, the cost of installing WiMax networks is too high to be economically viable.

Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET), a WiMax network provider in southern Taiwan, has said that the costs of WiMax base stations and customer premises equipment (CPE) are much higher than expected.

FET vice president Chen Li-jen added that WiMax might not work properly in metropolitan areas because signals could be deflected by skyscraper windows.

Tatung InfoComm, who also operates in southern Taiwan, has estimated that it will take eight years to recoup the costs of installing WiMax base stations.

The company says this is too high a risk for an unproven technology that has yet to gain widespread acceptance.

WiMax may now be left wondering about its long term worldwide future, as it was initially billed as a low-cost solution to provide high speed wireless internet access in metropolitan areas.


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