According to Focus Taiwan, First International Telecom (Fitel) is poised to commence the testing of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in association with China Mobile. Fitel, which has operated a personal handyphone service (PHS) in the 1900MHz band since May 2001, was granted a WiMAX licence in July 2007 and although rival WiMAX operators Global Mobile, Tatung Telecom, FarEasTone (FET) and VMAX were granted approval to shift from WiMAX to LTE by the National Communications Commission (NCC) in June 2010, the regulator explicitly said that Fitel and Vee had been awarded technology-specific concessions which were tied to WiMAX. Fitel belatedly launched its WiMAX network in September 2010. Industry sources have suggested that Fitel intends to petition the NCC to allow it to migrate from WiMAX to LTE if the trial proves successful.
The DigiTimes reports that Fitel will be trialling TD-LTE in Taoyuan, a county in the north of the country. Between five and ten base stations will be deployed in the vicinity of the Taoyun International Airport, and the one-year field test will run between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012. China Mobile has previously indicated that the technology is capable of achieving download speeds of 100Mbps. Fitel chairwoman Chang Min-yu commented: ‘Compared with other Taiwanese telecoms carriers, Fitel has more capabilities to develop the 4G network based on our similar experiences running PHS and WiMAX wireless technologies. We will play a role as coordinator in the development of Taiwan’s 4G technology, in the hope that cross-Straits 4G resources can be integrated efficiently’. Bill Huang, general manager of China Mobile’s Research Institute, added the trial operation of the TD-LTE network in Taiwan is an important step in China Mobile’s ongoing efforts to promote home-grown technology on a global scale.