The number national 4G subscribers is expected to surge 64 percent annually to reach a 60 percent penetration rate next year, as telecoms are ready launch a new round of 4G promotions, market researcher IDC Corp said yesterday.
There is little chance of local telecoms ending unlimited data rates, dashing shareholders’ long-term hopes of scraping unreasonable rate plans, IDC analyst Andy Ye (葉振南) said.
“Unlimited data plans proved to be an effective way to boost 4G subscriptions last year, as most 3G users migrated to 4G rate plans,” Ye said.
“Taiwan’s telecom market is overly competitive. The big three telecom companies could be reluctant to scrap flat rates, or they might risk losing subscribers to smaller rivals,” he said.
Expanding 4G market shares is likely to be a priority for telecoms, as 4G is a lucrative business that is set to become a major source of revenue over the next one to two years, given higher average revenue per user by 4G users, Ye said.
Next year, telecoms are expected to roll out new 4G rate plans, targeting 3G and 2G users who pay monthly fees between NT$300 and NT$500, Ye said.
The total number of 4G users in Taiwan is expected to increase to about 18 million next year, compared with 11 million this year, IDC said. Taiwan has 29 million mobile users.
The nation’s top three telecoms are expected to hold 90 percent of Taiwan’s 4G market next year, meaning second-tier players, including Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信) and Taiwan Star Telecom Corp (台灣之星), could continue to struggle to expand their customer base, Ye said.
IDC said that consolidation in Taiwan’s telecom market is expected over the next one to two years, depending on whether the second-tier players can raise sufficient capital for operations.
Taiwan Star plans to raise NT$10 billion (US$303.49 million) by issuing new shares to existing shareholders by the end of the year.
Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信), the nation’s No. 3 telecom, yesterday said it is aiming to seize a 30 percent share of the nations’ 4G market and expects 4G users to make up about 66 percent of its overall mobile subscribers next year.
The company also plans to roll out its new 4G services supporting TDD technology by the end of next year, after obtaining new bandwidth in last month’s second-round 4G spectrum auctions for NT$9.13 billion.