In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
China Telecom targets 3M 4G subs
China Telecom is committed to expanding its network of 4G base stations from 20,000 to 30,000 and increasing its 4G subscriber base to three million by the end of the year.
At the end of Q3, it had 1.3 million 4G connections while China Mobile had 41 million, according to GSMA Intelligence.
With government approval to roll out its FDD-LTE network into 40 cities, China Telecom is in a position to quickly expand the scale of its hybrid TDD/FDD LTE network, C114.net quoted a Telecom representative as saying. And due to the lack of devices supporting CDMA and TDD-FDD, the operator will rely on CDMA-FDD models in the beginning.
The Ministry of Industry and Information reportedly is preparing to issue full FDD-LTE network licences as early as next month, which would be a huge boost for both Telecom and China Unicom.
Dtac pushes data roaming
Thailand’s dtac has introduced flat-rate data roaming packages in an effort to boost its roaming revenue, which has been flat this year.
The operator now offers unlimited data roaming in 60 countries for THB280-600 ($8.5-18) per day. The THB280 daily package, for example, gives users unlimited data in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.
The operator aims to double the number of customers roaming next year and increase postpaid revenue 10-15 per cent, the Bangkok Post reported.
India, China account for 40% of smartphone shipments
In the last quarter China and India accounted for 40 per cent of worldwide demand for smartphones. Canalys reported last week that Q3 smartphone shipments increased 23 per cent to more than 300 million units from a year ago.
Mainland China accounted for 34 per cent of Q3 smartphone shipments and India 6 per cent. The Indian market expanded 84 per cent from last year and 29 per cent from Q2.
Following a similar trend in China, three of the top five players in India are domestic vendors — Micromax, Lava and Karbonn.
Samsung plans second Vietnam factory
Samsung plans to build a second smartphone factory in northern Vietnam, where it opened a $2 billion smartphone plant in March. The company has applied for a licence to invest $3 billion in the new facility, Reuters said.
In August Samsung announced plans to set up a factory in West Java to make as many as 900,000 mobile phones per month. The company said it is investing $20 million in the first of three phases at a facility that currently makes set-top boxes.
The South Korean firm is increasingly looking to move production outside of China to reduce costs as competition from low-cost Chinese rivals intensifies.
Taiwan’s touch panel output falls
Shipments of touch panels used in handsets produced in Taiwan fell almost 6 per cent in Q3 from the previous quarter to 50.4 million units.
DigiTimes said the fall was the result of declining orders for the iPhone 4/4S as well as China-base vendors clearing their inventories.
Output, however, is expected to turnaround and increase 6 per cent in Q4 as China vendors expand production.