In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
Flip-phones make comeback in Japan
Sales of flip-phones in Japan increased 5.7 per cent last year to 10.6 million units, while smartphone shipments dropped 5.3 per cent to 27.7 million, according to MM Research Institute.
The rebound was the first rise in flip-phone sales in seven years. Smartphone sales were down for the second consecutive year.
MM Research said the functionality of smartphones has peaked and they are lasting longer, which extends the upgrade cycle.
Uber needs more time to comply in Vietnam
Taxi-booking service Uber has asked Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport for more time to complete the required procedures to comply with local laws.
In Ho Chi Minh City traffic inspectors have fined 69 Uber ride-sharing cars more than $15,000, and the city’s Department of Transport said nine transportation companies that are Uber partners will be inspected soon, TuoiTreNews reported.
Uber has complained that it can take the department more than three days to approve an application for a “badge” for a for-hire vehicle. Uber drivers are also required to carry written contracts with their passengers, but Uber said its business model is based on technology so a written document is not necessary.
China Mobile hits 100M 4G users
China Mobile reached the 100 million milestone for TD-LTE subscribers at the end of January and said it aims to increase the number to 250 million this year and sell 200 million TD-LTE-enabling mobile devices.
The country’s leading operator introduced 917 TD-LTE terminal devices last year, with 65 per cent priced below CNY1,300 ($209), DigiTimes said.
Chunghwa targets 3.2M 4G users this year
Taiwan’s leading operator Chunghwa Telecom said it aims to more than double its 4G base from 1.33 million to 3.2 million this year.
The operator, with a 33 per cent share of the country’s mobile connections, said it wants to increase its share of the 4G market to 40 per cent from the current 38.6 per cent.
Its profit last year fell 12.6 per cent to TWD38.62 billion ($1.2 billion), while revenue also dropped 0.6 per cent to TWD226.6 billion.