Sat, May 12, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Apple Inc’s ‘new iPad’ goes on sale

IPAD OPTIMISM:Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone are hoping the new tablet will boost their tablet sales and content and data revenues to offset falling voice rates

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Models display the new iPad from Apple yesterday, the first day the gadget went on sale at a FarEasTone store in Taipei.

Photo: Sean Chao, Taipei Times

Local telecoms operators yesterday launched Apple’s third-generation iPad, hoping the gadget would help lift data usage amid falling voice rates.

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) said they had been authorized by Apple Inc to sell the popular tablet through their outlets, a total of 850 stores.

Apple sold previous models through its authorized electronics retailers.

“We are offering some popular applications for users to access stock market information, to buy books and watch movies [over the new iPad] among others,” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told a media briefing. “That will boost our content and data revenue.”

Data services accounted for 27.4 percent of the nation’s No. 3 telecoms company’s service revenue in the first quarter of this year, up from 20.3 percent a year ago, according to the company’s financial statement.

Far EasTone expects sales of the new iPad to boost the telecoms operator’s tablet sales by 50 percent to 120,000 units this year, from last year’s 80,000 units, Li said. That represents about a 16 percent share of the nation’s total tablet sales of 760,000 units forecast by Far EasTone.

The phone company offers subsidies as high as NT$8,010 (US$273) per unit for customers purchasing the new iPad with a service contract.

Taiwan Mobile, the nation’s second-biggest telecoms operator, expects sales of new iPad to help it double its tablet device sales to 200,000 units from 100,000 last year, co-president Cliff Lai (賴弦五) said.

When asked if high subsidies offered on purchases of the new iPad would erode profits, Lai said the company’s financial forecast for this year would not be affected by the subsidies, though he admitted that heavy subsidies on the iPhone and other smartphones had weighed on the company’s revenue and bottom line.

Taiwan Mobile expects revenue to increase 13 percent annually to NT$70.12 billion, while pre-tax profits are expected to grow 7 percent year-on-year to NT$15.91 billion.

Taiwan Mobile said net profit rose 10.43 percent to NT$1.27 billion, or earnings per share of NT$0.47, from NT$1.15 billion, or NT$0.39 a share, in April last year. Revenue expanded 30 percent to NT$7.68 billion from NT$5.9 billion.

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) said it is still negotiating with Apple for a better deal on the new tablet as an LTE-enabled model could be less appealing to local consumers due to Taiwan’s lack of a 4G network.

The company said it had opted to offer its telecoms package for purchasers of the new iPad via electronics retailers Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co (燦坤) and Hon Hai Group’s (鴻海集團) CyberMart (賽博數碼), which are authorized to sell the new iPad at their 41 outlets.

Chunghwa Telecom’s net income shrank 16.2 percent to NT$3.83 billion, or earnings per share of NT$0.5, last month from NT$4.57 billion, or NT$0.59, a year ago. Revenue slid 2.2 percent to NT$15.67 billion from NT$16.02 billion in the same period last year because of a 4 percent annual drop in voice charges ordered by the National Communications Commission.

Far EasTone’s net profits last month grew 26 percent to NT$827 million, or earnings per share of NT$0.25, from NT$656 million, or NT$0.3 a share, the previous year, while revenue increased 13.78 percent to NT$6.77 billion last month from NT$5.95 billion in the same period last year.

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