Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Telecom Co unveils its first branded smartphone

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan's top mobile operator, yesterday unveiled its first co-branded smartphone with phone vendor Dopod International Corp (多普達國際) in a bid to increase revenues.

Smartphones integrate the functionality of mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

Chunghwa Telecom is following its global peers in offering phones with operating systems to stimulate data usage on speedy third-generation (3G) networks, an analyst said.

"Cooperation with Dopod will bring us more subscribers and lift our revenue per user," Chunghwa Telecom chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) said in a press briefing yesterday.

Chunghwa Telecom, which is the first local mobile carrier to offer a co-branded smartphone, aims to sell 50,000 of the dual-brand phones, which allow users to browse Web pages and process data on its 3G network, by the end of this year, Hochen said.

He did not give a detailed forecast for growth in revenue per user following the launch of the new phone next month.

The revenue per user for Chunghwa Telecom's 3G subscribers is currently NT$1,400, compared with NT$800 for its 2G users, according to the company.

"I don't expect offering smartphones will greatly boost Chunghwa Telecom's data usage initially. The content available is insufficient and unattractive," said Lu Chia-lin (呂家霖), who tracks the telecom industry for Yuanta Core Pacific Securities (元大京華證券).

"However, Chunghwa Telecom needs to test the water, anyway, [to leverage expensive 3G deployment]," Lu said.

Chunghwa Telecom hopes to expand its 3G customer base to 1 million users by year end. Hochen said Chunghwa Telecom is in talks with other handset makers to explore the possibility of more tailor-made phones.

Dopod, which sells phones made by High Tech Computer Inc (宏達電), is the nation's biggest mobile phone supplier of handsets operating on Microsoft Corp's system.

Dopod also supplies customized and co-branded handsets to China Mobile Communications Corp (中國移動), China's biggest mobile carrier, and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.

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