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Taiwan Mobile: 3.5G HSDPA More Market-Ready Than WiMAX

October 26, 2007

There's a debate going on in Taiwan about the relative futures of HSDPA (High-speed downlink packet access) vs. WiMAX.

Taiwan-based Digitmes just-posted citation of remarks by Taiwan Mobile chief business officer Cliff Lai seem to indicate that his group is in the HSDPA, or 3.5G camp.

Kaddy Chung of Digitimes writes:

In terms of technological development, 3.5G is mature relative to WiMAX, Lai explained. Although WiMAX offers quicker access to the Internet than 3.5G, demand for mobile access to the Internet at such speeds is lower than that for fixed-line access, Lai pointed out. In addition, WiMAX incurs much higher base station deployment costs than that of 3.5G, Lai indicated.

Chang finds it important to note, however, that Taiwan Mobile has already started building a 3.5G network, but hasn't yet been able to aquire a WiMAX license. It's unclear, though, whether those factors are entirely influencing Lai's comparative perspectives on the two technologies.

Chang notes that Lai says Taiwan Mobile will extend its 3.5G infrastructure from northern Taiwan to the central and southern regions by the end of 2007 to extend 3.5G service around Taiwan by the end of 2008.

Not that Taiwan Mobile is giving up on WiMAX. Even though Taiwan Mobile has already applied for, and been rejected for, a regional WiMAX license this past June, they aren't rejecting the standard outright. It sounds far more like Lai would like the technology to mature and the price to come down before they jump in.

"TWM may compete for two island-wide WiMAX licenses to be issued in 2009, " Chang notes Lai as indicating, "noting that WiMAX operations will be more mature to some extent then and costs of COE (central office equipment) and CPE (customer premises equipment) are expected to be lower."

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