Thu, Aug 02, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone hopes to boost profits on broadband market

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation's third-biggest mobile operator, yesterday announced its foray into the local broadband market to broaden its sources of revenue.

The company launched "FET Big Broadband" (遠傳大寬頻) yesterday, a move putting it in direct competition with the broadband market leader, Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).

"Within the next two years, we will have a 1 million subscriber base," Far EasTone president Jan Nilsson told reporters yesterday.

By the end of June, larger rival Chunghwa's broadband had 4.16 million subscribers, including 1 million households using high-speed options of 8 megabytes per second or faster.

The launch reflects the company's strategy of working with the government to achieve a "no strings attached" Internet environment for users, Nilsson said.

Big Broadband service offers users a wireless broadband router riding on the 3.5 generation network.

Big Broadband charges a user NT$695 (US$21) per month, offering free domestic calls for the first 10 minutes.

One of the company's selling points is its partnership with affiliate Q-WARE Communications (安源通訊), the operator of the "Wifly" wireless service.

When Big Broadband subscribers step outside their homes, they can access Wifly with a 50 percent discount, costing NT$199 a month.

Wifly currently has more than 4,000 hotspots, or wireless areas, located at fast food and beverage chains such as Burger King, MOS Burger, QK Coffee and Starbucks, as well as at MRT stations.

Far EasTone claimed the rate for its Big Broadband and Wifly package was 45 percent cheaper than subscribing to Chunghwa for broadband and a fixed line.

The mobile carrier has also set its sights on motorists and plans to introduce a portable navigation device in October. The device incorporates global positioning system capabilities with communication, movie and TV viewing functions.

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