Taiwan Mobile has revealed that it signed up a total of 1.1 million 4G subscribers by the end of 2014, following the launch of such services in June that year, with 16% of the operator’s existing post-paid customers already having upgraded their service. Presenting its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014, the operator revealed that it now expects the number of customers taking its LTE-based plans to reach three million by the end of 2015.
Alongside such growth, the company also confirmed that on 7 January local telecoms regulator the National Communications Commission (NCC) had approved its acquisition of a 5MHz block of spectrum in the 700MHz band from Ambit Microsystems. Such a development, Taiwan Mobile said, means it is now the owner of the largest contiguous 20MHz in the band in question.
Despite solid uptake for its 4G offerings, however, the operator noted that turnover from its 4G services in the early stages of launch had not been enough to cover the rising operating expenditures related to both handset subsidies and the ‘relatively rapid rollout’ of its LTE infrastructure. Total turnover in 2014 meanwhile stood at TWD112.62 billion (USD3.72 billion), up 4% against FY13, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by just 1% year-on-year to TWD31.29 billion. Operating income for the twelve-month period declined by 6% to TWD19.71 billion, while the operator also saw net profit decline by 4% y-o-y to TWD15.01 billion.
Looking ahead, Taiwan Mobile has set out its financial guidance for 2015, saying it expects turnover to rise by 11% on an annual basis to TWD125.23 billion, while EBITDA is forecast to increase by 5% to TWD32.94 billion. Both operating income and net income are, however, expected to decline, by 4% and 7%, respectively, to TWD18.95 billion and TWD13.91 billion.