Sat, Sep 27, 2014 - Page 13 News List

iPhone launch boosts 4G subscriptions

IN DEMAND:The popularity of Apple’s newly released smartphones has seen short and medium-term forecasts of local companies’ phone and 4G service sales increase

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

A Far EasTone Telecommunications Co employee delivers free breakfast in Taipei’s Xinyi District for customers waiting in line to buy the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, which made their debut in Taiwan yesterday.

Photo: Sean Chao, Taipei Times

Telecoms Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) and Taiwan Star Telecom Corp (台灣之星) yesterday raised their 4G subscriber forecasts by at least 20 percent for this year, as strong demand for Apple Inc’s new iPhones helped accelerate the adoption of 4G services.

Far EasTone, the nation’s No. 3 telecom, expects 4G subscribers to top 600,000 users by the end of this year, citing stronger-than-expected demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The new projection is 20 percent higher than 500,000 4G users forecast by the company earlier this year.

“We have revised our projection of 4G subscriptions this year because of iPhone demand, which has greatly surpassed our expectations,” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told reporters during the Taiwan debut of the new iPhones.

Li said the company has received 200,000 orders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and it will be able to ship all of those orders by the end of the year, if supply from Apple is sufficient.

Taiwan Star began selling the new iPhones at midnight yesterday and company president Cliff Lai (賴弦五) said selling the larger-screen iPhone 6 Plus would bring at least 10,000 new subscribers to its existing 4G customer base.

The company has attracted 60,000 4G users within a month since it launched its 4G services last month, he said, adding that he expects the company’s number of 4G subscribers to grow to as many as 300,000 users by the end of the year, compared with his previous target of 200,000.

Taiwan Star said the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has helped boosted daily subscriptions by 30 percent as the new phones, equipped with 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screens, spur replacement demand.

Taiwan Star, a telecommunications newcomer, aims to get a 20 percent share of the nation’s 4G market, Lai said.

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) yesterday said sales of the new iPhones would help the nation’s No. 2 phone company hit its target of 400,000 4G subscribers quicker than expected.

Overall, local 4G users are expected to reach 1.8 million people this year, six months after Taiwan entered the 4G era, Taiwan Mobile said.

That is 80 percent higher than the 1 million 4G customers forecast by International Data Corp in June.

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday said it has orders for more than 100,000 new iPhones and expects the strong sales momentum to extend into the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in the middle of February next year.

The nation’s largest phone company reiterated its goal of seizing a 40 percent share of the nation’s 4G market this year.

Analysts said the first batch of orders for the new iPhones by the four major telecoms could reach as many as 800,000 units, predicting their sales would likely reach 1 million units by the Lunar New Year holiday.

Combined with sales through electronics retailers and Apple stores, the total sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are forecast to reach 1 million units within five months, they said.

However, that will depend on the shipment situation, as other markets are also seeing high demand for the two devices, they added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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