Chunghwa plans to sell new iPads from next week

MOBILE WORLD::As the nation’s largest telecoms firm announced plans to sell the tablets, other firms followed suit as the trend to mobile data accelerates

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jan 05, 2013 - Page 13

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday said it plans to launch Apple Inc’s latest tablets, the iPad 4 and iPad mini, by Thursday next week, paving the way for the nation’s biggest telecoms operator to double its tablet sales this year.

The launch comes about half a month after local electronics retailers such as Studio A Electronic Corp (晶實科技) and Data Express Infotech Co (德誼數位科技) were authorized by Apple on Dec. 14 to sell those tablets supporting only Wi-Fi Internet connections.

“We are focusing on selling tablets supporting mobile technology [3G technology] rather than offering Internet access at hot spots,” Lin Kuo-feng (林國豐), president of Chunghwa’s mobile business group, told a media briefing.

“We think the 3G version [of iPads] will create more value for telecoms companies, rather than selling the tablets to make one-time profits,” he added.

Chunghwa plans to offer more than 10,000 units of the iPad 4 and the iPad Mini in the first phase. To cater to tablet users’ needs, Chunghwa plans to offer more digital publications, as well as digital content for larger screens.

This year, Chunghwa aims to increase its tablets sales to at least 200,000 units, from last year’s 100,000 units, Lin said.

In addition to Apple’s iPad product range, the company also sells tablets from Samsung Electronics Co, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) and other brands.

Chunghwa will sell the iPad mini at a price as low as NT$6,990 per unit with a three-year service contract, which carries a minimum monthly fee of NT$850 for unlimited Internet access.

Chunghwa Telecom subscribers can also access the Internet at hot spots via Wi-Fi technology. The phone company plans to increase the number of its hot spots to 46,000 this year from 36,000.

Chunghwa also said it has sold 100,000 units of the iPhone 5 since it was launched in the middle of last month.

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信) and Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) yesterday said they also planned to sell the iPad 4 and the iPad Mini in the near future.

Taiwan Mobile will sell the iPad mini for NT$6,990 with a three-year service contract. Subscribers will have to pay NT$650 per month for unlimited Internet access, if they subscribe to the package by the end of next month.

Far EasTone is the only telecoms company in Taiwan that sells the iPad mini starting at NT$12,490, bundled with a one-year service contract, in addition to its offering of 2-year and 3-year rate plans.

By the end of next month, subscribers can receive an 80 percent discount, or pay NT$620 per month, for unlimited Internet access on a one-year, two-year, or three-year contract.