Asia Express - Data Communications
WiMAX Development in Asia October 6-12
October 10, 2008
- Taiwanese WiMAX licensee VMAX expects to launch WiMAX service at the end of the first quarter 2009, according Economic Daily News of Taiwan. Deployment of base stations is scheduled to start by year-end 2008. It is projected that the number of base stations in Taipei will reach 200 in February 2009, covering 70% of the population. Over the next three years VMAX plans to procure 1,500 base stations and enhance its network coverage to 90% of Taipei City's population.

- It is reported that Intel is considering an initial investment of NT$500 million (US$15.39 million; US$1=NT$32.5) in VMAX, according to a report by Taiwan's Commercial Times. It is estimated that with the investment, Intel will be able to acquire a stake of about 25% in VMAX. Final decision on the investment deal is expected to be made around year-end at the earliest.

At present VMAX is also discussing cooperation with US-based Sprint Nextel on businesses other than international roaming. However, the possibility of Sprint Nextel investing in VMAX has been ruled out.

- Following the letter of intent signed with Alvarion for collaboration on WiMAX base station manufacturing, Taiwan's Tecom announced on October 6 that it has entered into a similar partnership with Samsung for manufacturing WiMAX base stations and key components including RF (Radio Frequency) modules, according to the Central News Agency of Taiwan. Shipments for Samsung began in June, and Tecom projects an overall shipment volume - including the shipments for Samsung, VMAX, and other customers - of around 10,000 units by the end of the year. The deal with Samsung is value at approximately US$15.0 million.

- Samsung and ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute), a Korean government-funded research institute, staged a live demonstration of mobile WiMAX evolution at the ITU-R Seoul Meeting, which runs from October 7 through 15, according to a press release by Samsung.

Mobile WiMAX evolution is a next-generation mobile WiMAX technology and is reportedly capable of enhancing the data speed four times faster than the present mobile WiMAX technology, providing an optimum downlink rate of 149Mbps and uplink rate of 43Mbps. Also, mobile WiMAX evolution is believed to boost the efficiency of frequency allocation by means of the next-generation multi-user MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology.

Mobile WiMAX evolution sports comprehensive compatibility with the mobile WiMAX devices currently available. Samsung slates the commercialization of mobile WiMAX evolution system by 2011.