Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone to start partnership with Vodafone Group

COOPERATION:The partnership covers joint procurement and international roaming, but it will have to wait until Vodafone’s agreement with Chunghwa Telecom ends

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecoms operator, yesterday said it would start a strategic partnership with Vodafone Group PLC, after the alliance between the world’s largest mobile communications company and Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) ends.

The collaboration is part of a strategic partnership pact signed yesterday by Vodafone and Conexus Mobile Alliance, one of Asia’s largest mobile alliances. Far EasTone is a member of Conexus.

Benjamin Ho (何永生), executive vice president for marketing and consumer business at Far EasTone, said the two groups would focus on cooperation in joint procurement and international roaming business.

“We may create economies of scale by launching joint procurement, either in end devices or total solutions,” Ho told reporters, adding that products such as smartphones, data cards and tablet PCs would be included in the joint procurement.

The partnership would also help both groups enhance the roaming experience for a combined global mobile customer base of more than 13 million, Far EasTone vice president Daniel Chang (張嘉祥) said.

“We hope to set up a specific rate for data roaming with Vodafone to help customers, especially enterprise customers, get cheaper” rates that cover a wider network, Chang said.

Conexus has already started to introduce a two-year data roaming package rate of less than US$20 per day, Chang said, adding that he hoped this could be expanded to include Vodafone’s coverage.

Vodafone’s current agreement with Conexus includes Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (和記電訊國際), Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, the Philippines’ Smart Communications Inc, Singapore’s StarHub Pte Ltd and Thailand’s True Move Telecom.

As for Far EasTone, the partnership with Vodafone may take more time to take effect, as Vodafone still has a more-than-one-year partnership with Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest telecoms operator.

However, Vodafone would ask if Chunghwa Telecom would be willing to terminate the partnership earlier, which would allow its alliance with Far EasTone to take effect earlier, Chang said.

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