Taiwan launches its first WiMax network

Tatung Infocomm is offering a special, US$50 per month for unlimited service, a WiMax laptop card and home modem

The first commercial WiMax broadband wireless network in Taiwan opened for business on Monday.

Tatung InfoComm formally launched WiMax services on Penghu, Taiwan's largest outlying island, which is famous for windsurfing and will soon be home to several casinos under a new gambling initiative.

The company is offering several specials to entice Penghu's 93,000 citizens to sign up for the new high speed wireless Internet access service.

Anyone who signs up for unlimited monthly WiMax service that includes both a WiMax card for their laptop PC as well as a WiMax modem for their home between now and June 30 will pay NT$1,680 (US$50) per month.

People who just want a WiMax data card for their laptop can sign up for NT$699 per month unlimited service, and people who want WiMax at home can opt for an NT$649 per month plan.

The minimum price for monthly service will be NT$1000 per month after the special introductory rates expire.

Taiwan has been on the forefront of investing in and promoting WiMax technology for use in Taiwan and to boost production of WiMax gear among the island's manufacturers.

The government handed out WiMax network licenses to several companies in Taiwan, some of which allow them to build a WiMax network in Northern Taiwan and others for the South.

WiMax is part of the government's M-Taiwan (Mobile Taiwan) program aimed at ensuring people all over the island, including remote mountain villages and offshore islands, will be able to access the Internet wirelessly.

The high speed wireless technology has been promoted globally as a speedier replacement for the Wi-Fi technology found in coffee shops and elsewhere.

As part of M-Taiwan, the government has offered generous research grants and co-investment to companies on the island to help jump start WiMax services.

The hope is that by being an early adopter and producer of WiMax products, Taiwanese manufacturers will benefit from the global deployment of WiMax.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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