Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Telecom sets iPhone date

PRODUCT LAUNCH The company will begin taking pre-sale orders from today through Dec. 10, with Apple’s iconic smartphone scheduled to hit the stores in about two weeks

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) said Apple Inc’s iPhone will hit its stores on Dec. 13, the latest effort by the nation’s biggest phone company to boost revenues amid declining mobile voice business.

Chunghwa Telecom will be the first local telecom operator to sell the iPhone in Taiwan, which has lagged behind other Asian markets such as India and Philippines in selling the smartphone.

Chunghwa Telecom said it was in talks with HTC Corp (宏達電), which makes the world’s first handset running Google Inc’s Android system, to offer second-generation G phones as well.

“The sale of the iPhone certainly will help boost our data revenues as the packages cover a wide range of data transmission services such as push e-mails,” Chunghwa Telecom spokesman Shih Mu-piao (石木標) said.

“Our average revenue per user [ARPU] from iPhone users may be more than NT$1,500 [US$45], compared with NT$1,100 ARPU from 3G subscribers,” Shih said.

Data services accounts for 10 percent of Chunghwa Telecom’s overall mobile revenues of NT$18.29 billion in the third quarter.

The company said it would sell iPhones exclusively for an unspecified period, with a two-year service contract carrying a minimal month fee of NT$1,049.

To get a free iPhone with 8GB memory space, people will have to sign a two-year contract with a monthly charge of NT$2,549. Or they can buy the phone from Chunghwa Telecom for at least NT$26,600 and get a prepaid number.

“We are targeting gift shoppers during Christmas and Lunar New Year holidays,” vice president Lin Jen-hon (林仁紅) said.

Chunghwa Telecom aims to sell 50,000 iPhones by March, Lin said.

However, officials admitted that this might not be the best time to be launching the iPhone because this could be the worst shopping season in recent years.

Chunghwa Telecom will begin taking orders for its iPhones today. The presale will last to Dec 10.

Share prices of Chunghwa Telecom rose 0.57 percent to NT$52.5, better than the broader market’s 0.15 percent gain yesterday.

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