Tue, Jul 29, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Nation gets first 3G service

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation's first third-generation (3G) high-speed mobile Internet service launches today, allowing those with the right equipment sophisticated multimedia data services via their handsets.

Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications Inc, a subsidiary of fixed-line phone company Eastern Broadband Telecom Co, has invested about NT$20 billion in setting up 600 base stations nationwide to deliver the new services.

"We are not just bringing a new technology to the Taiwanese market, we are really bringing a new lifestyle that people can enjoy," An Chung-ming (安仲明), chief executive officer of Asia Pacific, confidently told the Taipei Times yesterday.

3G mobile services are one of the world's most advanced mobile technologies and have been commercially used in South Korea, Japan, North America and several European countries.

3G gives users access to multimedia messaging, video entertainment and mobile-location search services via their handsets at high speeds.

But analysts expect it to take many years for the new service to take off. In a market where everyone already has a mobile phone, users would have to buy a new 3G-capable handset, which cost more than NT$20,000.

Even so, An believes the market is ready for 3G.

"Customers are eager to have multimedia-data services and the current mobile service is not able to satisfy them," An said.

Most of today's mobile services, such as ring-tone and picture downloads, are either text or still-picture based. The new services allow users to watch movie previews and television news via their phones, An said.

In February last year, Asia Pacific bought one of five 3G licenses the government was offering for NT$10.5 billion. The other four licenses went to Taiwan Cellular Corp, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co's subsidiary Yuan-Ze Telecom Co, Chunghwa Telecom Co and Taiwan PCS Network Inc.

Taiwan PCS plans to enter the market by the end of the year, while the other expect to launch their 3G services early next year.

Also see story:

Asia Pacific has high hopes for its 3G

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