Taiwanese wireless operator Vibo Telecom has indicated that it hopes to roll out its long-mooted HSPA+ network in 2011, after missing its previous rollout target of December 2010. The company has pledged to invest a further TWD2 billion (USD68.9 million) in expanding its infrastructure. Vibo president Chang Feng-Hsiung told a media briefing that last year’s delay in capacity expansion and network upgrades greatly impacted the company’s ability to expand its customer base, commenting: ‘Because of insufficient capacity, we did not launch an extensive marketing campaign to increase the number of subscribers, which affected the company’s [financial performance]. Vibo will be able to break even this year, if we can expand our network and customers as planned’. In August 2010 Vibo purchased 3,576 3.5G-capable base stations from Chinese equipment vendor ZTE, as well as core network equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks, at a total cost of around TWD3 billion. Vibo hopes to grow its subscriber base from 1.85 million to around 2.5 million by the end of 2011.
In other news, Vibo has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Palau Mobile Corporation to implement a HSPA+ network on the Pacific island of Palau, which is situated 800km east of the Philippines. The rollout will consist of around 20 base stations, also procured from ZTE; it is expected to go live in 2Q11. Palau Mobile is one of the two wireless operators on the island, the other being state-run Palau National Communications. It is believed that 70-80% of Palau Mobile’s 2010 revenues were attributed to tourists using international voice roaming services.