Smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) will consider diversifying its chipset suppliers for lower-end 4G long-term evolution phones as part of a strategy to reduce costs and win back market share, a company executive said yesterday.
“Globally, 4G phones are expected to be rolled out in phases, beginning with high-end products,” HTC’s head of China and North Asia operations Jack Tong (董俊良) said on the sidelines of the company’s year-end party, held jointly with Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest mobile service provider.
In response to a question about whether HTC will continue the multi-supplier strategy it uses for its new mid-tier HTC Desire series, Tong said: “When mid-tier or budget 4G phones actually hit the market, we will certainly evaluate the situation, because HTC has always focused on technology development.”
Tong said lower-end 4G phones with “high-performance-to-cost” value will easily gain traction with young consumers, while HTC will continue to offer value-added services in its premium 4G models.
Commenting on Taiwan’s 4G device market, Tong said HTC expects a sales boost in the second half of next year, when the company aims to become the country’s biggest manufacturer of 4G phones thanks to its offering of complete product lines.
Tong’s remarks came a month after HTC released four mid-range Desire phones in Taiwan on Nov. 27 by enlisting new chipset partners such as ST-Ericsson, Broadcom Corp and Spreadtrum Communications Inc (展訊).
The change indicates that the company is moving away from long-time partner Qualcomm Inc in a bid to tackle the stiff competition from low-cost phone manufacturers like China’s Xiaomi Corp (小米).
Lin Kuo-feng (林國豐), president of Chunghwa Telecom’s mobile business group, told reporters at the year-end party that high-end models are projected to make up nearly half of the carrier’s total 4G LTE phone purchases next year.
Chunghwa Telecom plans to build 3,000 4G base stations in six major metropolitan areas in Taiwan next year, and will increase the number to 6,000 in 2015 and 9,000 in 2016 when it rolls out 4G coverage to medium and small cities, Lin said.