Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 12 News List

New Century introduces Internet phone service

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTE

Local fixed-line and broadband services provider New Century InfoComm Tech Co (新世紀資通) yesterday introduced its new low-tariff Internet phone service, aiming to build a bigger presence in the nation’s NT$40 billion (US$1.2 billion) landline market where Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) operates as a virtual monopoly.

New Century, a subsidiary of the nation’s No. 3 mobile phone operator, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), said the service would start today, with the company installing the VoIP gateway for free to interested subscribers.

Users will be able to make landline calls from home like they do now, but at a much lower price than the services offered by Chunghwa Telecom, New Century said.

Subscribers may save as much as 85 percent on long-distance phone bills, the telecom operator said.

“We hope this new service will snare some market share from Chunghwa Telecom,” said Maxwell Cheng (鄭智衡), vice president of Far EasTone’s home solutions division, during a luncheon with reporters.

“The market growth potential is huge,” Cheng said.

New Century, which markets its service under the name Sparq (速博), has a small share of the market, with 50,000 landline subscribers and more than 300,000 broadband subscribers.

In comparison, Chunghwa Telecom controls 97 percent of the nation’s 7.5 million landlined households given its last-mile advantage.

In another bid to break Chunghwa Telecom’s hold on the market, New Century said it is working with state-run Taiwan Power Co (台電) to provide Internet access via power lines through a special research project funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

New Century provides free Internet service to 150 households in two communities in Taipei and one community in central Taiwan using power line communications (PLC) technology.

The technology, which has been widely adopted in the US and Spain to facilitate the digital convergence of phone, Internet and entertainment services, has yet to be commercialized in Taiwan.

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