Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa says relationship with HTC will continue

POPULAR PHONES Chunghwa Telecom Co denied that the 3G phones made for it by High Tech Computer Corp have proved unpopular

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's biggest phone company, said it would continue its relationship with local phone maker High Tech Computer Corp (HTC, 宏達電), the world's biggest maker of mobile phones running Microsoft Corp's mobile operating system. Chunghwa Telecom added that it would release more custom handsets developed for it by High Tech in the fourth quarter.

Chunghwa Telecom hopes the phones, which are customized for high-speed and data-oriented third-generation (3G) users, will boost subscriptions, Chang Shao-tung (張曉東), a president of Chunghwa Telecom's mobile business division, said in a phone interview.

The mobile carrier launched its first HTC-co-branded 3G phone, the HTC9000, in June last year.

"We will continue to work closely with HTC. We plan to launch a new 3G handset made by HTC in the fourth quarter," Chang said.

Chunghwa Telecom is also considering sourcing 3G handsets from other local mobile phone vendors, including BenQ Corp (明基), Inventec Appliances Corp (英華達) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), Chang said.

Chunghwa Telecom has 7.88 million second-generation subscribers and about 500,000 3G subscribers.

Chang's remarks came after the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday that Chunghwa Telecom planned to end its relationship with HTC as demand for the co-branded handsets had dwindled because of certain functional flaws.

Chunghwa Telecom, however, said demand for the phones had exceeded expectations.

"Supply is the only constraint in some parts of the nation," the operator said in a statement released yesterday.

The firm claimed that it had sold all 10,000 units of the phones it ordered in just two months, and had to order another 10,000 phones to meet demand.

Meanwhile, Chunghwa Telecom has launched a second round of tenders for underwriters to help it sell around 800 million shares, or about 8.37 percent of the company, after the first round of tenders failed to meet the government's requirements last month.

The telecom operator hopes to announce the successful candidates on Sept. 15.

As a result of the unexpected problems with the tender process, the share sale -- originally planned for the middle of this month -- ?will be delayed.

Chunghwa Telecom said earlier this month that net income for the first seven months was NT$26.3 billion (US$800 million), or NT$2.76 per share. Revenue rose almost 1 percent year-on-year to NT$106.2 billion.

Shares of Chunghwa Telecom were down 0.18 percent to NT$54.1 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX.

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