Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone 4G phones launched

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter with CNA

Showgirls display the new Amazing X1 smartphones, Taiwan Mobile Co’s own-brand 4G model, at a product launch in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) yesterday unveiled own-brand “affordable” smartphones for fourth-generation (4G) wireless technology in preparation for the launch of 4G services two months later.

The launches come as the nation’s big three telecoms — Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone — aim to make their 4G services available in July. Each is targeting between 400,000 and 500,000 4G subscribers this year.

“We are offering mobile phones at friendly prices to lower the threshold for 4G subscribers,” Taiwan Mobile vice president Jeff Ku (谷元宏) said in a statement.

The company’s Amazing X1 and Amazing X2 handsets, manufactured by Chinese handset maker ZTE Corp (中興), are priced at NT$4,990 and NT$5,990 respectively, and are scheduled to be available from June 1, Taiwan Mobile said.

Own-brand mobile phones are expected to make up more than 30 percent of the firm’s overall 2.4 million phone sales this year, Ku said.

Taiwan Mobile also unveiled an own-brand 4G tablet as part of about 20 smart devices supporting 4G technology available by July, he said.

Far EastTone yesterday introduced a new 4G smartphone, Smart 503, priced at NT$5,990 and made by Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團).

Far EasTone last month launched two 4G smartphones and plans to release a new 4G tablet from a global brand next month in a bid to broaden its 4G product lineup.

Taiwan Mobile has also proposed a third-party online payment subsidiary that is expected to allow its customers to make mobile payments through virtual accounts, the company said.

The telecom said its proposal will need approval at its annual general shareholders’ meeting next month, and that the new third-party payment firm is expected to require capital of at least NT$300 million (US$9.96 million) based on local regulations.

“Third-party payment is considered a strategic deployment, and Taiwan Mobile will certainly be part of that,” Ku said at a press conference.

Taiwan Mobile has launched a wide range of mobile-payment services that use the scanning of QR codes or near-field communication (NFC) technology, which can be integrated into third-party payments, Ku said.

The company plans to team up with local banks to offer its third-party payment services and does not rule out the possibility of partnering with other companies in the future, the vice president said.

In August last year, Taiwan Mobile and Taipei Fubon Bank (台北富邦銀行) announced a partnership in a pilot of wireless-payment services based on NFC technology.

The pilot program has enabled users to make contactless payments with their NFC smartphones in about 25,000 local stores using point-of-sale readers.

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