TAIPEI, Oct 8 Taiwan will sign an agreement with several top global telecoms equipment ma

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TAIPEI, Oct 8 (Reuters) Taiwan will sign an agreement with several top global telecoms equipment makers aimed at developing the island as a base for gear using the WiMax wireless standard, an economics ministry official said on Monday.

The memorandum of understanding will include global leaders Nokia-Siemens, Alcatel Lucent and Motorola, said a spokesman for the Economics Ministry's Mobile Taiwan Applications Promotion Program Office.

''For many years, we've tried to bring more businesses to Taiwan through partnerships with larger overseas companies, and this (WiMax) project is the same,'' he said.

WiMax, being plugged by its developers as a fourth-generation successor to current 3G mobile data services, allows anyone with an enabled laptop or media device to download songs, movies and business presentations at speeds of up to 70 mbps over distances of up to 30 miles (50 km).

Several Asian markets, including Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, are in the process of building systems based on the standard, which is still largely untested on a commercial basis.

In the United States, Sprint Nextel is also building a network based on the standard.

Alcatel-Lucent also plans to base its first WiMax research and development centre in Taiwan, the Commercial Times, one of Taiwan's top two business dailies, reported.

The island's overall output of WiMax equipment could hit around T$5 billion ($154 million) this year, a relatively modest figure but up sharply from T$1.4 billion last year, the newspaper said. Next year the figure could reach T$18.1 billion, it added.

Taiwan said it hopes that major telecoms equipment makers can see the island as a strong base for manufacturing as the wireless networking industry grows.

On Monday, domestic WiMax equipment makers such as Accton Technology Corp rose 2.15 percent, while Gemtek Technology Co Ltd advanced 0.84 percent. The benchmark TAIEX index gained 1.04 percent.

REUTERS SR GC1155

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