One, two, three for 4G; Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile join Chunghwa with LTE launches

4 Jun 2014

Hot on the heels of the announcement last week that Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom had become the first operator in the country to commercialise LTE technology, rival Far EasTone has launched its own 4G network. According to the China Post, the operator is offering a range of tariffs, including those with caps of 1.5GB, 6GB and 32GB for TWD599 (USD18), TWD1,199 and TWD2,699, respectively. Further, with the news source saying a third player – Taiwan Mobile – could go live as early as today, this appears to be the case, with the operator now advertising 4G via its website; plans range from TWD599 per month for a 1GB cap, to TWD2,599 for a 20GB usage allowance. While Chunghwa is offering its LTE services using spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, both Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile are said to be using 700MHz frequencies for their respective deployments; the latter two are, however, planning to introduce 1800MHz 4G services in the near future.

All three of the aforementioned cellcos will offer unique media content via their nascent fourth-generation infrastructure, with Chunghwa showing the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Far EasTone boasting a movie database, and Taiwan Mobile broadcasting NBA games. Details of coverage were also laid out, with Chunghwa said to initially be providing LTE services in Taipei City, Taichung City and Kaohsiung City, with the network footprint expected to expand to a total of seven cities by July 2014. For its part, Far EasTone is claiming broader coverage in the launch phase, saying customers in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Taichung City and Kaohsiung City, could sign up for its 4G offerings. Rounding out the cellcos, Taiwan Mobile’s initial coverage zone is said to include Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Meanwhile, despite the trio of launches, it is understood that customers looking to upgrade from an existing 3G connection to the faster speeds offered by LTE are currently unable to do so, as the National Communications Commission (NCC) has yet to finalise regulations governing such upgrades. Nonetheless, the regulator is expected to make changes allowing the porting of numbers to 4G services in the immediate future.