Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Chunghwa looks to 4G to maintain its market edge

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecom operator, aims to more than double its 4G subscriber numbers to 3.2 million this year, as its high-speed data-oriented service enters its second year, a company executive said yesterday.

As of December, Chunghwa Telecom, which spearheaded the launch of 4G services in May last year, had 1.33 million users. That accounted for 38.6 percent of the market, making it the biggest 4G service provider.

“We aim to grab a 40 percent share [of Taiwan’s 4G] subscribers this year,” company president Shih Mu-piao (石木標) told an investors’ teleconference.

Chunghwa Telecom will continue to expand its 4G subscriber base to achieve economies of scale and does not plan to scrap its flat rate policy before it reaches that goal, Shih told investors.

However, the company “will remove [its] unlimited data plan at an appropriate time. We cannot decide [when] so far,” he said.

Telecom companies and industry analysts considered flat-rate plans a key strategy to stimulate the nation’s 4G uptake last year, but such rate plans also eat into the profits of operators.

The nation’s total number of 4G subscribers reached 3.5 million last year, outpacing International Data Corp’s forecast of 3.3 million after its second revision from the 1 million projected in July.

This year, the figure is expected to surge to more than 10 million, IDC said in December.

Shih said the company would focus on growing its revenue, with its bigger 4G client base helping to lift its average revenue per user, it said.

Chunghwa Telecom also aims to boost its 4G network’s population coverage to 99 percent by the end of this year, the company said.

As the company is nearing completion of its 4G network deployment, Chunghwa Telecom expects capital spending to fall further next year after dropping to an estimated NT$30.7 billion this year from last year’s NT$38.82 billion, chief financial officer Chen Bo-yung (陳伯鏞) said.

Chunghwa Telecom yesterday said that its net income contracted 12.6 percent to NT$8.07 billion last quarter, from NT$9.23 billion a year ago. That brought last year’s overall net income to NT$38.62 billion, down 2.7 percent from NT$39.72 billion in 2013.

The company expects net income to go down further by 2.9 percent to NT$37.5 billion, it said on Friday.

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