Taiwan mobile operator Far EasTone has rolled out commercial Wimax services in the southern city of Taichung.
The service costs NT$599 (€12.88) a month for unlimited data access and includes a free Wimax dongle or Customer Premise Equipment (CPE).
In contrast, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) charges NT$850/month for its 3 Mbps ADSL service.
Far EasTone has deployed around 100 Wimax sites in Taichung city, covering 90% of the city.
The firm is using Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility end-to-end Wimax solutions.
“Motorola's end-to-end solution…[will] help us to create new revenue streams and attract new subscribers,” said Far EasTone president, Jan Nilsson.
Motorola added that “the Wimax network…allows the operator [Far EasTone] to offer a low-cost alternative to home DSL services in the market, enabling a new home entertainment experience for users.
“The new Wimax network covers most of Taichung city, and the network coverage and capacity will be further expanded as usage grows.”
Far EasTone reportedly hopes to expand its Wimax service to Tainan, Chiayi and Kaohsiung in the first half of next year.
It is in roaming discussions with some of the country’s other Wimax licensees, including Tatung Infocomm, the first of Taiwan’s six regional Wimax licensees to launch services in southern Taiwan in April 2009.
Tatung’s service costs NT$700 a month for unlimited downloads. The service is available in Taiwan’s second-largest city Kaohsiung and the Penghu Islands.
Informa Telecoms & Media broadband analyst Tony Brown believes Far EasTone is the best-placed of Taiwan’s six Wimax hopefuls.
“Unlike the vast majority of Taiwan’s Wimax aspirants, Far EasTone has the funding to launch and substantially market a Wimax service,” says Brown.
“Other Wimax operators have struggled to really make consumers aware of their services but Far EasTone does not have that problem because it already has a strong market brand,” he added.