Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Far EasTone prepares to wage 4G supremacy ‘war’

EARLY BIRD:The nation’s No. 3 telecom operator wants to be the first to offer commercial 4G services and is also joining Chunghwa in the near-field communication sector

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信) yesterday said it would tender a bid for a fourth-generation (4G) license by the end of the year to speed up its data transmission services with more bandwidth.

The nation’s No. 3 telecom operator has set up a “4G war room” in preparation for the deployment of the 4G network as it works toward its goal of being the first local telecoms operator to operate the new services commercially, president Yvonne Li (李彬) told shareholders at an annual gathering.

The company said it also plans to offer mobile payment services later this year in collaboration with Far Eastern International Bank (遠東國際商銀) and credit card issuer MasterCard Inc.

The company will launch a trial project for mobile payments based on near-field communication (NFC) technology, Li said.

The trial project will initially only target smaller mobile payments of less than NT$3,000, in accordance with the Financial Supervisory Commission’s regulations, she said.

“We will begin with our group’s banks and department stores, while seeking external partners such as fast food chains,” Li said, adding that more details will be announced at a press conference to be held by the end of this month.

The commission on Tuesday approved Far Eastern International Bank’s request to run mobile payment services through over-the-air downloads that allow users to download virtual credit cards to their NFC-enabled smartphones.

Far EasTone is to become the second carrier in the nation to enter the NFC mobile payment market after Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the country’s largest mobile provider, teamed up with MasterCard and four local banks to launch a trial plan for mobile payment services on May 29.

According to market researcher Gartner Inc, the value of worldwide mobile payment transactions will reach US$235.4 billion this year, up 44 percent from the US$163.1 billion recorded last year. The figure is forecast to increase to US$721 billion in 2017, Gartner said in a report yesterday.

Far EasTone also said it plans to expand its number of outlets, including those owned by its retailing subsidiaries Express Infotech Co (德誼數位科技) and Arcoa Communication Co (全虹通信), to 1,000 from 900 last year.

Far EasTone also said it has plans to recruit 1,500 people this year to staff its customer service division or work as application developers.

Shareholders yesterday approved the company’s plans to issue NT$3.5 in regular and special cash dividends per share, the highest dividend yield since 2005.

Last year, Far EasTone issued cash dividends of NT$3 per common share on profits of NT$10.6 billion.

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