Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Asia Pacific will launch 3G services starting this month

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communication Inc (亞太行動寬頻), one of the nation's five third-generation (3G) mobile service licensees, plans to launch Taiwan's first high-speed mobile service by month's end, an executive of the company said yesterday.

"We've finished all the technology testing processes and expect to deliver services to the public in late July," said Wu Chun-te (吳俊德), a vice president of Asia Pacific Broadband.

He added that the company has prepared a variety of attractive data services and will deliver them at affordable prices.

Wu refused to elaborate featured services and prices.

In February last year, Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of fixed-line phone company Eastern Broadband Telecom Co (東森寬頻), spent NT$10.5 billion to buy one of the nation's five 3G licenses from the government.

Other licensees include Taiwan Cellular Corp (台灣大哥大), Far EasTone's (遠傳電信) subsidiary Yuan-Ze Telecom Co (遠致電信), Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) and Taiwan PCS Network Inc (聯邦電信).

Asia Pacific has bought nearly one million handsets from Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co, and plans to offer them at around NT$15,000 each, a section chief at Asia Pacific told the Taipei Times yesterday on condition of anonymity.

In order to access high-speed mobile services, users have to buy a 3G-ready handset, which can cost just over NT$20,000 on average.

"We plan to have a launching ceremony between July 20 and 26," the official added.

Chinese-language media spec-ulated that Asia Pacific will use cut-throat pricing and offer free calling time to win customers.

One analyst said building a client base will be an uphill battle.

"Asia Pacific is a new mobile phone operator which means they have to start from scratch," said Gary Lai (賴晴風), an analyst at Insight Pacific Investment Research (月涵證券).

However, in a market with over 100 percent mobile service penetration rate, the room for new market entrants is very limited, he added.

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