Chunghwa Telecom Co (CHT, 中華電信) yesterday said that it expects its number of 5G subscribers to reach 1 million within a year of the new wireless technology’s commercial launch, adding that the uptake of 5G would be similar to that of 4G.
The company accumulated 1.33 million 4G subscribers in the 12 months after it rolled out its 4G services in June 2014.
Chunghwa is expected to launch its 5G services on July 1.
Yesterday, it demonstrated a 5G bus equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in Taipei.
People touring Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) can use the bus free of charge for the next three weeks, the company said.
“We expect the company’s 5G growth curve will not be different from that of its 4G [subscriptions],” Chunghwa Telecom executive vice president Lin Kuo-feng (林國豐) told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference to introduce the bus, which has 5G connectivity.
South Korea, which in April last year became the first nation to offer 5G services, could provide a reference for Taiwan in terms of its 5G adoption rate, said Max Chen (陳則仕), president of Chunghwa Telecom’s mobile business.
As of April, South Korea had seen its 5G penetration rate reach more than 9 percent, Chen said.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak and other factors, such as 5G tariffs, might affect the uptake of 5G services in Taiwan, he said.
Chunghwa Telecom has sold between 10,000 and 20,000 5G phones so far, and the adoption of 5G phones would grow explosively when retail prices drop to about NT$10,000 (US$337) in the second half of next year, he said.
The company plans to offer five 5G-enabled smartphones from Samsung Electronics Co, LG Electronics Co and Sony Corp, Chen said, adding that HTC Corp (宏達電) might join the list later.
The company plans to spend more than NT$27 billion deploying wireless networks in the next three years, he said.
That compares with Taiwan Mobile Co’s (台灣大哥大) plan to spend NT$13.47 billion on mobile broadband equipment over the next three years.
Chunghwa last week became the nation’s first telecom to obtain a 5G commercial license from the National Communications Commission.
Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) obtained its 5G license yesterday.
Far EasTone, which plans to roll out its 5G services this summer, has forecast that 15 percent of its subscribers would switch to 5G within 12 months of the service’s launch.
According to the Regulations for Administration of Mobile Broadband Businesses (行動寬頻業務管理規則), a telecom must launch its 5G service within six months of receiving the license.
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