Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation's second-biggest mobile operator, yesterday said it planned to offer its first 3.5-generation (3.5G) handsets by the end of the year.
Taiwan will join the ranks of tech pioneers such as Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and the US in having commercially launched high-speed wireless communication services on mobile phones with High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), or 3.5G, technology.
Far EasTone is the first company to offer an HSDPA data card with a transmission speed of 3.6 megabytes per second for personal computer users. Rival Chunghwa Telecom Co (
"We plan to launch HSDPA phones by the year's end, and HSDPA routers for households to share the service at home will follow soon," Roger Chen (陳立人), a director of Far EasTone, said in an interview yesterday.
Chen said Far EasTone is in talks with Motorola Inc and other handset vendors to supply the HSDPA phones.
Far EasTone's HSDPA service enables 3.6 megabytes per second data transmission, allowing mobile users to download a one-minute music video in just 22 seconds, 1.8 times faster than the broadband network, or ADSL service, at 2 megabytes per second.
"The 3.5G data card has been popular since its launch because of its transmission speed, easy installation and compatibility with desktop computers," Chen said.
The number of subscribers to the 3.5G data card since its launch last month has already equalled the total for the 3G data card in the first six months after its launch last August, Chen said, without giving detailed figures.
"For PC users, we believe the 3.5G data cards could be a substitute for ADSL users at home and Wi-Fi subscribers," Chen said.
"They don't have to bother searching for network hot spots. And our coverage is more comprehensive than WiFly, the wireless connection offered by the Taipei City Government," Chen said.