Fri, Jan 07, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Hong Kong telecom links up with Far EasTone

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hong Kong phone company China Motion Telecom (潤迅通信) is to offer lower-rate mobile service over Far EasTone Telecommunications Co's (遠傳電信) network for Taiwanese expatriates in China, company officials said in Taipei yesterday.

China Motion is the second telecommunications firm, after Taipei-based Hicall Telecom Co (南屏電信), to receive a so-called Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) license to provide phone services via renting bandwidth from existing telecom operators.

"We know competition in Taiwan's telecom market is pretty stiff, but we are eyeing a niche market, different from existing mobile players," said Li Bin (李彬) executive director of China Motion, dispelling suspicions the company wants to make profits by simply providing voice call services.

Businesspeople traveling around the Greater China area will be China Motion's target market.

The company calculates that around 2 million Taiwanese people travel regularly across the Strait, with their monthly phone bills ranging around NT$500 to NT$600 higher than average users, deputy general manager Hurman Mok (莫志良) said.

"Besides, prices do matter. Our services will help users save expensive roaming charges by transferring calls to our Chinese and Hong Kong units," Lin said.

China Motion is offering up to 75 percent lower tariffs for users calling China or Hong Kong than local cellular operators charge now, he said.

The Hong Kong-based telecom operator charges its users NT$6.3 per minute for calls to China, compared to an average NT$25 per minute charged by Taiwan's mobile carriers, Mok said.

Different packages for China Motion's mobile service are now available in Taiwan, with rates ranging from NT$133 to NT$1333 per month.

The company said it secured 100,000 subscribers over the last two years in Hong Kong, where competition is more severe than in Taiwan.

Late 2003, MVNO pioneer Hicall Telecom started offering the service on KG Telecommunications Co (和信電訊), which is merged into Far EasTone last year. In almost one-year operation, Hicall has about 100,000 users now out of the nation's 23-million mobile users, the company said.

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