Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Content is key to the success of 3G business: experts

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Telecom operators wanting to capitalize on the booming third-generation (3G) technology must provide customer-oriented content and services to persuade users to shift from the current second-generation -- or voice-based -- service, industry experts said yesterday.

"I think content is the key to developing 3G business, because users pay more in both subscription and devices, and therefore demand more," said Chang Eun-suk, director of Asia-Pacific region operations at WiderThan Co, an affiliate of South Korea's SK Telecom that provides mobile Internet products and services.

SK Telecom is the No. 1 mobile carrier in South Korea.

Chang made the remark at a forum with the theme "Driving Value for 3G Today and Tomorrow" held by the Market Intelligence Center (MIC) in Taipei yesterday. The forum invited experts in the industry from Japan and South Korea to shed some light on the business for operators in Taiwan, where 3G service is only now taking off.

In July 2003, Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications Inc (亞太行動寬頻) launched Taiwan's first 3G service, but the subscription base was not expanded until larger carriers such as Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile Corp (台灣大哥大) and Far EasTone Tele-communications Co (遠傳電信) entered the market this year. The fifth player will be Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信).

With carriers keen to promote the new service, the MIC estimates that the number of 3G subscribers will reach 4 million in the next two years.

Some of the new value-added content 3G operators can bring are digital music downloading, and movie or soap-opera-clip downloading, Chang said.

To strike gold in the 3G business, operators need to map out a pricing strategy, said Naohiro Yoshikawa, general manager of the information communication industry consulting department I at Nomura Research Institute Ltd in Japan.

Take NTT DoCoMo, a leading carrier in Japan. Naohiro said the company launched its 3G service in 2001, but its average revenue per user has been dropping over the years because it adopted fixed rates.

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