Taiwan mobile operator Far EasTone warned its heavy investment in 5G services would hit its 2020 bottom-line, but expects the rollout to drive revenue growth as ARPU climbs.

The company, which plans to boost capex from TWD6.2 billion ($205 million) in 2019 to TWD10.2 billion this year, expects net profit for 2020 to drop 8.2 per cent year-on-year to TWD8.02 billion and revenue to increase 3.4 per cent to TWD86.8 billion. It is allocating about 60 per cent of capex to the 5G deployment.

It said the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak would not slow its 5G plans, with the service initially being offered to businesses and scheduled to start in the third quarter.

Far EasTone predicts 5G services targeted at both consumers and enterprise to help improve ARPU this year. Post-paid ARPU in 2019 fell 5.7 per cent year-on-year to TWD726.

The operator spent more than TWD41 billion on 80MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum and 400MHz in the 28GHz band in an auction which closed in January.

For the fourth quarter of 2019, its net income grew 31 per cent to TWD2.13 billion, while total revenue fell 9.4 per cent TWD21.2 billion.

Its overall subscriber base was flat at 29.2 million, with post-paid rising 1.4 per cent to 5.35 million.