Cross strait telecom conference eyes fifth-gen network

By Ted Chen, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A conference attended by cross-strait telecom carriers took place yesterday in Taichung, with enterprises from both sides heralding the beginning of collaborative plans to establish the so-called fifth generation (5G) mobile network.

The event was attended by Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Woody Duh (杜紫軍) as well as China’s Vice Industry and Information Technology Minister Liu Lihua (劉利華), who urged for heightened cross-strait collaboration in the pursuit of the 5G network.

However, representatives of the ailing WiMax networks urged governing bodies to foster a more inclusive and comprehensive commercial ecosystem to accommodate all competitors. Vee Telecom Multimedia Richard Lai (賴富源) stated that the government has failed to support the private sector, particularly due to its inability to render terminal equipment available in the early years of the WiMax network, which has curtailed the field ever since. Lai stated that the private sector had allocated tremendous amounts of resources in building WiMax infrastructure to no avail, as without government policies rendering terminal equipment available, they cannot commercialize their network to the market. He urged governing bodies to remedy current pressing issues before embarking on the pursuit of 5G.

Following the conference, Taiwan’s leading telecom carriers gave upbeat outlooks on the prospects of the planned cross-strait 5G network, while commending the resolve of Taiwanese and mainland governing bodies in realizing the upcoming collaborative network based on the time-division long-term evolution (TD-LTE) communication technology.

Taiwan’s leading telecoms are scrutinizing upcoming regulatory changes concerning the allocation of operating licenses for the 2,600 Megahertz network bandwidth, and subsequently the fate of the ailing WiMax networks. The industry is anticipating how regulators will rule on the conversion of portions of existing WiMax licenses into 4G, and whether the remaining network band will be sold off to bidders.

Topics discussed at the conference include cross-strait collaborations in 4G, wireless and smart city applications, and upcoming challenges in establishing regionally compatible mobile payment clearing platforms.

Members of the press at the event experienced the first sneak peek at the latest progress of experimental 4G connectivity in bus-mounted exhibition.

Over 300 high-ranking representatives from leading telecom carriers on both sides of the strait participated in the conference, including mainland telecom heavyweights China Telecom (中國電信), China Mobile (中國移動), China Unicom (中國聯通) and Datang (大堂) and handset makers ZTE (中興) and Huawei (華為), in addition to instant messaging giant Tencent QQ (騰訊). Notable delegates from Taiwan included Chunghwa Telecom (中華電), Far EasTone (遠傳), Taiwan Mobile (台灣大) and Asia Pacific (亞太), in addition to WiMax operators including Vee Telecom Multimedia (威達), Global Mobile (全球一動) and PHS (大眾電信).