Intel's $500M Taiwan investment is for WiMAX 'entity'

A $500 million investment by Intel, announced in Taiwan today, is geared mainly to gaining greater interoperability between other equipment and Intel's own mobile WiMAX chips, which are slated to ship later this year to OEMs for use in Centrino PC notebooks, said a US-based Intel spokesperson.

In a new memo of understanding (MOU) with the Taiwanese government, Intel has promised to invest half a billion dollars from 2008 to 2013 in "across-the-board procurement and investment in Taiwan, including WiMAX," according to a written statement that crossed the wires today, but only in the Chinese language. Intel provided BetaNews with a copy of the statement translated into English.

Also under terms of the deal, Intel and the Taiwanese government will "evaluate the creation of a business entity for WiMAX system integration and invite relevant Taiwanese industries to invest in this business entity, whose services will include consultation on WiMAX network infrastructure design, and integration of WiMAX, equipment, services, [and] applications as well as client devices."

Although details of the agreement won't be settled until the end of this year, Intel and the government of Taiwan are now forming a task force to discuss the "investment target, investment amount, business model, and operations of the business entity."

Intel has been working with the Taiwanese government on deploying WiMAX in that country ever since 2005, according to the spokesperson. "This is just the next step in our effort," BetaNews was told. But at this point, she said, Intel is moving beyond fixed WiMAX -- commonly viewed as a broadband wireless replacement for DSL or cable networks in rural areas -- to mobile WiMAX.

Intel expects to see mobile WiMAX developments later this year in Russia, Japan, and the US, according to the spokesperson.

Although Intel plans to ship mobile WiMAX chips to manufacturers in the second half of this year, the timeline for their appearance in Centrino PC notebooks will depend, the spokesperson told us, on "OEM schedules."

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