Wed, Nov 29, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone first telecom to launch NB-IoT service

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecom, aims to boost the numbers of Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) enterprise subscribers to 7,000 within three years of the commercial launch, a company executive said.

The launch of NB-IoT services on Monday marked the latest effort by the telecom to find a new revenue growth engine to combat a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU), a downward trend faced by most telecoms worldwide.

By 2020, Far EasTone expects the new NB-IoT business to contribute more than NT$1.2 billion (US$40 million) in revenue.

“After two years of trying to find the right business model to run an NB-IoT business, Far EasTone has found its own way,” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told a media briefing on Monday.

Far EasTone is to provide its IoT services primarily on the NB-IoT network, Li said.

Far EasTone is the nation’s first telecom to launch NB-IoT services.

The company’s NB-IoT coverage is limited to the Greater Taipei area and the industrial area in Taoyuan, but Far EasTone is accelerating the installation of base stations, with an aim to complete the whole deployment of 8,000 in the second quarter of next year.

NB-IoT is one of the most cost-efficient wireless technologies that would help connect millions of IoT devices utilizing the firm’s existing long-term evolution bandwidth with some upgrades.

Far EasTone expects the NB-IoT deployment to cost about NT$300 million.

Initially, the telecom is setting its sights on government-related NB-IoT applications such as traffic safety control and “smart” street lamps, which are likely to undergo the fastest growth, Far EasTone vice president Philip Tseng (曾詩淵) said.

Smart manufacturing would be the other segment with tremendous growth potential, Tseng said.

“Taiwan will see explosive growth in NB-IoT next year after the cost of installing IoT devices drops to the sweet spot,” Tseng said.

He expects the cost to fall to an affordable US$5 per unit next year.

Telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson AB, electric scooter manufacturer Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) and power management unit supplier Delta Electronics Inc (台達電) are among the firm’s partners, a company statement said.

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