Top 2 Taiwanese telecom providers unify GPRS,WLAN services

Dec 18, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 18, 2003 (CENS)--Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd. And Taiwan Cellular Corp. recently decided to offer their cellular-service subscribers a convenient wireless service which simultaneously incorporates general packet radio service (GPRS) and wireless local area network (WLAN) functions.

The two companies will unify charges and subscriber identifications of the two services by issuing a twin-function card, which bears only a cellular subscriber number. For a long time, Taiwan's consumers have to pay two bills for the two services. The convenient service aims at the island's 15 million cellular subscribers.

Subscribers can connect the Internet through WLAN network within WLAN coverage area and GPRS network outside WLAN coverage area by using this card. Chunghwa and Taiwan Cellular planned to retail the cards at around NT$4,000 (US$117 at US$1:NT$34) after subsidizing them. BenQ Corp. and Global Sun Technology Inc. are two major producers of the cards in Taiwan. More card manufacturers are expected to join the supply soon after the two local telecom players begin to offer the combined service.

Cellular-service subscribers of the two telecom providers can enter their cellular numbers on WLAN-based mobile computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) to log on to the Internet. For security sake, they are eligible to enter one-time password on their mobile machines or use card readers to identify their code numbers for permission to connect the Internet. Connection charges will be contained in cellular-phone bill.

Chunghwa and Taiwan Celluar will separately work with Yaw Jenq Technology Corp., a provider of wireless broadband network services, on the combined services. Yaw Jenq now operates some 600 hotspots throughout the island. Its nearest rival HiNet has barely 100 points.

In a separate case, the Taiwan Electrical & Electronic Manufacturers' Association and the Taipei Computer Association have recently co-organized an "Open Mobile Internet Alliance" to promote a service combining WLAN with 3G network.
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