A total of 600,000 Taiwanese mobile subscribers are expected to shift from their current 3G network to 4G services next year when providers begin offering the service, according to market research company International Data Corp (IDC).
The number of 4G subscribers is then projected to soar 13.5 times to 8.1 million by 2015, thanks to the improving quality of 4G services, IDC said in a report.
The research firm expects Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest mobile provider, to become the first carrier to offer 4G services next year, as the company has acquired sufficient bandwidth, including the 1,800 megahertz spectrum, which already has a mature ecosystem for suppliers.
Moreover, IDC said 4G operators are likely to adopt a tier-pricing strategy, rather than the “all-you-can-eat” 3G data plans seen currently, with most 4G users expected to pay a monthly fee of between NT$1,500 and NT$2,000 (US$50 to US$67) for 5GB of data usage every month.
Taiwan had about 24.37 million subscribers to its 3G networks as of Oct. 31, according to data compiled by the National Communications Commission, the regulator.
Currently, Chunghwa Telecom has nearly 3.6 million subscribers for its 3G data services. The company said earlier this month that it aims to start 4G operations in the third quarter of next year and expects to have 300,000 4G users by the end of next year.
Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the country’s third-largest carrier, forecast on Friday that its 4G users would reach 700,000 to 800,000 next year when it begins offering 4G services, with 4G phones expected to account for half of its total smartphone purchases next year.
The maximum 4G Internet speed is 10 times faster than current 3G networks, which will meet demand for the transmission of high-quality content, such as 4K video with a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, according to industry analysts.