Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Chunghwa pushes forward LTE launch schedule

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s top telecoms operator, yesterday said it aims to debut its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) services in July, earlier than the originally planned fourth-quarter launch.

The telecoms company, which won a 4G license for NT$39.08 billion (US$129 million) in October, had said that it hoped to have 300,000 subscribers for its 4G services when it commercially launches them in the final quarter of this year.

An earlier launch will help raise the odds of gaining more subscriptions, the company said.

“It is part of our financial forecast, which we always want to surpass,” Chunghwa Telecom chairman and chief executive Rick Tsai (蔡力行) said in response to a reporter who asked if the company was being aggressive in setting the target.

“We are endeavoring to [reach that goal],” Tsai said.

Chunghwa Telecom plans to deploy 10,000 base stations to enable 4G technology in the three-year period to 2016, the firm said.

The company has budgeted 10 percent more for capital spending this year, setting aside NT$40.13 billion primarily for 4G base station installation, it added.

As price and demand for voice services are on the wane, Chunghwa Telecom yesterday said it planned to boost its non-voice service revenue to more than 51 percent this year, from about 40 percent last year.

Separately, Taiwan Star Cellular Corp (台灣之星), one of last year’s 4G spectrum license winners, said on Tuesday that it had set a goal to launch its services commercially in the third quarter, ahead of other entrants.

As the spectrum obtained by Taiwan Star is operated by Asia Pacific Telecom (亞太電信) and will not be available until 2018, speculation emerged that Taiwan Star planned to acquire Asia Pacific.

The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday that Taiwan Star planned to acquire Asia Pacific Telecom at NT$19 per share.

Asia Pacific Telecom said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that the report was “total media speculation.”

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