Taiwan’s six mobile operators almost tripled the number of 4G subscribers last year to 10.4 million, which now account for 32 per cent of the country’s total mobile base.
Market leader Chunghwa Telecom boosted 4G connections by three million last year to 4.4 million, giving it a 41 per cent share of the 4G market. Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone each more than doubled their 4G connections to about 2.4 million.
The top three players, which launched LTE services in May 2014, have almost 9.2 million 4G connections, while the three newcomers have 1.2 million LTE users, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Asia Pacific Telecom (APT), whose merger with Ambit Microsystems was approved by the regulator on 31 December, reported that its mobile data users increased 20 per cent to 940,000 last year.
Both APT and Ambit are subsidiaries of electronics contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision, or Foxconn.
According to GSMA Intelligence, APT had 3.1 million connections at the end of last year, while Ambit had just 26,000, all of which are 4G users.
Chunghwa, which has a 33 per cent total market share, aims to add two million 4G subscribers this year, taking its total to 6.4 million, while Taiwan Star Cellular has set a target of one million 4G users this year, up from its current 430,000.
In other news, Taiwan Mobile has followed rivals APT and Taiwan Star Cellular in launching voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). But the service is only available to its estimated 500,000 customers using iPhone 6 and 6s models and only between users on the operator’s network. Call rates are the same as for 3G, but users need to pay a monthly fee of TWD30 ($0.90) for the service.
In May Ambit was the first operator in the country to offer VoLTE, which was interoperable with APT and Taiwan Mobile’s networks at launch.