SKT deploys LTE-R on Busan subway
South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT) launched a pilot operation of the world’s first LTE-R network – a standard for next-generation railway communication – on a subway line in Busan.

SKT, which signed a contract with Busan Transportation Corp (BTC) to deploy LTE-R in 2015, rolled out the network using 10MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band on the 41km Line 1, which covers 40 stations.

SKT said the commercial network will go live in April.

The migration of the railway communications network to LTE-R is expected to enhance safety and convenience of railway services, SKT said. Unlike traditional analogue networks (VHF and TRS) which only support voice calls or radio contact, LTE-R enables control room staff, subway drivers, station employees and rescue workers to share information in diverse ways, including real-time image/video file sharing and group calling/text messaging.

Taiwan Mobile slashes 2017 capex
Taiwan Mobile, the country’s third largest operator, reduced its capex budget for 2017 by 17 per cent to TWD8.5 billion ($273 million) as it continues to cut back on 4G related spectrum and network spending.

The operator, with a 24 per cent share of mobile connections, allocated TWD5 billion to expand its mobile infrastructure and TWD2.5 billion to upgrade its cable TV and broadband networks this year.

The ratio of capex as a percentage of revenue dropped to 9 per cent in 2016 from 11 per cent in 2015.

Total revenue is forecast to increase 2 per cent to TWD119 billion this year after remaining flat in 2016. Its net income is expected to fall 6 per cent to TWD14.4 billion, following a 2 per cent decline last year.

Far EasTone withdraws cable-TV bid
Taiwan’s second largest mobile operator Far EasTone said it will withdraw a bid for a local cable-TV operator along with its partner Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia IV’s, due to a drawn-out regulatory review, the Taipei Times reported.

The decision to withdraw the TWD74.5 billion ($2.39 billion) bid for China Network Systems (CNS) came after major shareholders of CNS agreed to initiate a revocation of the takeover deal to avoid impacting the cable company’s operations, the newspaper said.

The National Communications Commission requested a second review of the case, despite giving a conditional go-ahead to the deal a year ago. The Fair Trade Commission approved the deal in 2015.

MediaTek upgrades chipset for dual-camera handsets
Taiwan-based MediaTek announced the latest addition to its Helio P series of mobile processors, the Helio P25, which is designed to offer premium quality imaging on dual-camera smartphones.

The fabless semiconductor company said the new chipset combines the power of 16nm octa-core processing with Imagiq, its image signal processor technology, and dual-camera features.

With its range of hardware image signal processing features, MediaTek said the Helio P25 offers advanced features such as a shallow depth-of-field and high performance auto exposure that lets users capture the highest quality images in any lighting scenario.