Global Mobile to replace Wimax with LTE

Melissa Chua

Taiwan’s Global Mobile has announced plans to dump Wimax in favor of LTE as the latter appears to be the dominant 4G standard. 

Chairperson Rosemary Ho told the Taipei Times that the operator would apply for government permission to switch its license from Wimax to LTE once it hits 70% coverage. Government regulations dictate Wimax operators can only apply for the LTE switch once the 70% coverage target has been met.
Ho said Global Mobile intends to achieve this target by year-end, where the operator will have at least 1,000 base stations deployed.
The operator’s current Wimax base stations are LTE compatible, but the switch will come at a price due to LTE equipment’s higher cost compared to Wimax. Ho added the transition might affect the operator’s competitiveness.
Global Mobile aims to grow subscriber numbers from 160,000 this year to 250,000 next year.
Taiwan currently has 6 Wimax licensees – Tatung InfoComm, Vmax, Far EasTone, Vee and International Telecom and Global Mobile.
According to ABI Research, operators could benefit from a dual strategy based on Wimax and LTE. 

China’s regulator recently announced the country would not see commercial LTE rollouts till 2014; Hong Kong’s CSL and Japan’s NTT Docomo each went live with their LTE services late last year.