Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's largest telephone operator, reported its biggest quarterly profit increase in more than three years on lower labor costs.
First-quarter net income rose 21 percent to NT$12.1 billion (US$366 million), from NT$10 billion year-on-year, the Taipei-based company said yesterday.
Sales rose 1.5 percent to NT$45.32 billion.
The company is seeking to expand beyond traditional voice services by offering Internet-TV and faster broadband connections to spur profit growth.
"Administrative expenses should keep falling since they became privatized and cut staff," Lu Chia-lin (呂家霖), an analyst at Yuanta Core Pacific Securities (元大京華證券), said before the earnings announcement. "The risk for Chunghwa is the regulator pressuring them to cut prices."
Chunghwa has cut staff by 2,700 to 27,000 since 2005 and plans to cut an additional 2,300 by the end of next year.
Internet-access revenue increased 8.6 percent for the quarter to NT$5.1 billion, leased-line sales gained 7.1 percent to NT$6.9 billion and mobile-phone revenue increased 0.8 percent to NT$18.1 billion.
Separately, the National Communications Commission (NCC), the nation's telecom regulator, was scheduled to begin accepting applications from local telecom companies to bid for WiMAX licenses today.
Applications must be filed by June 11.
The NCC will auction six WiMAX licenses.
Major mobile operators including Chunghwa and telecom entrant Tatung Co (