Fri, Sep 28, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Far EasTone eyes increase in data revenue

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信), the nation’s No. 3 telecoms operator, expects mobile data service revenue to double, accounting for 35 percent of its overall service revenue this year, backed by the fast adoption of smartphones, a company executive said yesterday.

At the end of last year, data services accounted for 17 percent of total revenue, Ben Ho (何永生), a vice president at Far EasTone, said at a product launch with smartphone brand HTC Corp (宏達電).

Subscribers of data services — considered a major growth driver for telecoms companies amid falling voice rates — are expected to grow 40 percent year-on-year to about 2 million users this year, Far EasTone said.

Last quarter, smartphone subscribers accounted for 32 percent of the company’s total of 6.78 million mobile subscribers.

Revenue contribution from smartphone subscribers is higher, averaging about NT$1,500 per user, which is about double that of feature phone users, the company said.

To cater to the rising demand for mobile devices, Far EasTone plans to buy 1.5 million mobile gadgets — including 1 million smartphones and 170,000 tablets — up about 13 percent from its prior forecast of 1.3 million units.

Yesterday, Far EasTone launched a new mid-ranged smartphone — the HTC Desire X — to target young consumers and college students. Consumers can either get the Android-powered phone for free with a service package that carries a minimum monthly fee of NT$838, or pay NT$10,900 for the phone only.

An increase in sales of low to mid-end smartphones, which carry a price tag of below NT$15,000, would lower Far EasTone’s subsidy costs and support its margins, Primasia Securities Co analyst Filia Lin said in a report released on Tuesday.

Far EasTone yesterday also introduced Bad Piggies, the latest from Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish mobile gaming developer of Angry Birds. The new game is available on its mobile application platform S Mart.

Far EasTone is launching the game 10 days ahead of its local peers, the company said. It expects to get as many as 80,000 downloads of the game 10 days after the sale, vice president Roger Chen (陳立人) said.

Far EasTone has accumulated 3 million downloads with 300,000 members. S Mart offers about 4,500 applications, it said.

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