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Mainland, Taiwan firms seek tie-ups

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-14 08:55

Companies in Taiwan province are seeking opportunities to team up with their counterparts in the Chinese mainland in 4G-plus technologies, especially voice over long term evolution (LTE), or VoLTE, to find a profitable business model.

The VoLTE technology allows traditional voice services to be transmitted along with other internet data. Supporting simultaneous voice and data use, it allows users to have better voice calls and high-definition video calls under 4G LTE network coverage.

Cliff Lai, general manager at Taiwan Star Telecom Corp, a mobile network operator, said in a recent interview with China Daily that most telecom carriers in the province have launched VoLTE.

But, they still lack the financial muscle to back its further development. The current 4G data pricing is low, so potential opportunities like the interoperability of VoLTE between wireless carriers are yet to be harnessed.

"I really look forward to the cooperation between (companies in) Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. Working together, we could ensure that VoLTE calls made on different carriers can interconnect with one another," Lai said.

"I also hope the two sides can implement a unified VoLTE roaming standard, which will form a huge market for the two sides. For Taiwan, we may then find a better business model to profit from VoLTE."

According to the China National Tourism Administration, for the first time, over 4 million trips were made in a single year from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan in 2015. Mainland visitors accounted for 40 percent of Taiwan's total inbound tourists in 2015, topping this group.

Yang Zemin, vice-president and secretary-general of the China Communications Standards Association, is optimistic that cooperation between companies in the mainland and Taiwan in telecom technologies and industrial standards will increase.

"People in Taiwan need to communicate with their relatives, friends and business partners living in the Chinese mainland. If the technological barriers are not removed quickly, operators cannot serve their users better," Yang said.

"Aiming to serve the whole global market, mainland and Taiwan companies have an open mind on deepening cooperation in the future."

To increase the number of their subscribers, the three major telecom operators in the mainland-China Mobile Ltd, China Telecom Corp Ltd and China United Network Communications Group Co-are quickly building 4G-plus networks, especially to launch VoLTE services.

Li Yue, president of China Mobile, the world's largest telecom carrier by subscribers, recently said the company reached over 500 million 4G subscribers and would build 1.4 million 4G base stations by the end of this year.

Li further said China Mobile will have 30 million VoLTE subscribers in more than 300 cities by the end of this year.

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