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COMPUTEX: High-speed rail to offer 4G WiMAX service in August

2012/06/05 17:24:23

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Passengers on Taiwan's High Speed Rail (HSR) will be able to access the Internet via a cutting edge wireless broadband service in summer, a telecommunications operator said Tuesday.

The trial run of the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) will begin in August, providing a free service for six months, said Vee Time Corp. Chairman Richard Lai.

"People will no longer have problems accessing the Internet on the train when it's going at a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour," he said at a press briefing at Computex Taipei, Asia's largest computer trade show.

The 4G (fourth-generation) WiMAX technology gets rid of the glitches in the current 3G network services, Lai said.

At present, HSR passengers using 2G or 3G cellular devices often have reception problems because the speed of the trains makes it difficult to achieve a smooth signal transition from one base station to the next.

It is the first time in the world that 4G WiMAX service will be available on a high-speed ground transportation system, Lai said.

The experience and implementation of the Taiwan technology are expected to be "exported" next year, he said.

Taiwan currently has six licensed WiMAX operators -- Global Mobile, VMAX Telecom Co., Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., International Telecom Corp., Tatung InfoComm Co. and Vee Time.

Vee Time has merged with Tatung and VMAX and the group now has 10 million subscribers.

By the end of the year, the figure is expected to top 15 million and to reach 20 million by the first half of 2013.

(By James Lee)