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2008 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Taiwan

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 7 May 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 125

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

Taiwan is a country leading in technology use. The report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media..

Researcher:- Lisa Hulme-Jones

Current publication date:- May 2008 (14th Edition)

Next publication date:- Feb 2009 

Executive Summary

Taiwan has been very progressive in its efforts to liberalise the telecommunications industry and to create a positive regulatory regime. Despite the odd bout of bureaucratic bickering, structural reforms have been achieved. At the same time, Taiwan’s telecommunication infrastructure has been upgraded significantly, undergoing a series of network modernisation projects over the last decade or so.

Internet growth has been phenomenal in Taiwan. The proportion of the population who are Internet users has exceeded 65%. Some 80% of all homes in Taiwan own PCs and around 70% of homes have Internet connections. The market has moved rapidly away from dial-up access to broadband, mainly on DSL subscriptions, and over 60% of all Internet connections are broadband. The government has committed the country to being on a par with the US by 2010. Going into 2008 broadband penetration had been lifted to over 20%. There are a large number of ISPs, although a handful of big ones continue to dominate the market. For more information, see chapter 6.1, page 32.

Taiwan’s mobile market has been a remarkable phenomenon. By early 2002, the country had reached the milestone of one mobile service for every person on the island. After peaking at a penetration of 114% in late 2003, the penetration was sitting at around 105% going into 2008.

Consistent with the performance of its impressive mobile sector, Taiwan moved energetically into the ‘next generation’ of mobile services. Following the awarding of five licences for 3G services in 2002, one of the new licensees, APBW, launched its CDMA2000 1x service in 2003. The market newcomer passed the ‘one million subscribers’ milestone in late 2006, having grown fivefold in just three years. Three other 3G licensees launched their 3G services in 2005 and now account for nearly 15% of the total mobile subscriber base.

Taiwan has one of the highest TV penetrations in the world. In recent times, change has been the order of the day in Taiwan’s television industry - the establishment of a public television system, the legalisation of private cable TV operations, the increased popularity of satellite broadcasting, the promotion of digital television, and the employment of a whole range of new digital technologies. For more information, see chapter 7, page 55.

Key highlights:

  • In January 2008 the Taiwan Government raised the cap on foreign ownership in Chunghwa Telecom to 55% from the previous 49%. The direct foreign ownership cap remained at 49%; with the change referring to combined direct and indirect holdings. The direct ownership cap in Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone is also 49% with indirect foreign holding capped at 60%. For more information, see chapter 3, page 7.
  • The government announced plans to invest US$664 million on the development of WiMAX technology over the next few years. WiMAX equipment manufacturers and operators were encouraged to co-operate to support the government aims to make Taiwan a ‘role model’ for wireless broadband development in Asia.
  • Incumbent mobile operators Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile failed to secure spectrum at 2.5GHz. They were outbid by six companies, which walked away with the regional licences. The highest bidder, FITEL, agreed to pay 12.89% of its WiMAX service revenue to the government, and Far EasTone won with the lowest revenue-share bid of 4.18%. For more information, see chapter 8.6.8, page 103.
  • Mobile voice volume surpassed that of fixed voice communications for the first time in 2007.
  • In early 2008, three Taiwanese operators announced their investment plans for network expansion:
  1. The Far Eastern Group planned to spend NT$10.4 billion (US$340 million) in 2008 to boost its 3.5G and WiMAX operations. The group won a WiMAX licence covering southern parts of the country in the first half of 2007.
  2. Chunghwa Telecom planned to invest NT$46 billion during 2008-2012 with the aim of achieving 80% broadband coverage by 2011. The company aimed to have 1 million Multimedia-On-Demand subscribers on its fibre network by end-2008, rising from less than 500,000 by end-2007.
  3. Taiwan Mobile Company planned to accelerate the deployment of its fibre optic network with a NT$8 billion investment, but had not specified a timescale.
  • During 2007, a number of the five operators awarded trial licences for mobile TV started operations with the DVB-H standard.
  • Taiwan’s mobile operators sold over 7 million handsets between them in 2007, with sales in 2008 expected to top 7.5 million units. For more information, see chapter 8.3.3, page 81.

Taiwan Internet, broadband and telecoms statistics – 2004 - 2007

Sector

2004

2005

2006

2007

Internet (million)

Internet users

12.2

13.2

14.5

15.4

Internet subscribers

8.0

7.3

7.0

6.0

Mobile Internet subscribers

5.3

8.1

9.1

11.8

- as % of all mobile subscribers

23.5%

36.4%

39.4%

48.8%

Broadband (million)

Total subscribers

3.7

4.2

4.5

4.6

Penetration rate

16.3%

18.5%

19.7%

20.2%

Proportion of Internet subscribers

46.0%

58.0%

61.0%

62.0%

DSL subscribers

3.1

3.6

3.8

3.8

Subscribers to Telecoms Services (million)

Fixed-line telephone subscribers

13.5

13.6

13.4

13.3

Mobile phone subscribers

22.7

22.1

23.2

24.2

- 3G subscribers

0.5

0.9

1.8

3.5

- 3G market share of mobile base

2.1%

4.2%

7.9%

14.4%

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

For those needing high level strategic analysis and objective analysis on Taiwan, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • Chunghwa Telecom’s ambitious CAPEX program, which includes increasing the penetration rate of its fibre-optic network to at least 25% of Taiwan’s households over a five year period.
  • Chunghwa Telecom’s investment in a 30% stake in Skysoft, the owner of online music provider KKBOX for NT$44 million, to boost its multimedia services. KKBOX is Taiwan’s largest provider of music download services with over 300,000 paying members and 3.5 million registered users.
  • Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone plans to expand their HSDPA networks to cover 90% and 75% of the population going into 2008.
  • Collaboration between Chunghwa Telecom, High Tech Computer Corporation and Google on an open-standards based handset and platform called Android. Chunghwa Telecom hoped to be the first Taiwanese operator to launch an Android-based handset.
  • Plans by GPS navigation device maker Mio Technology to expand its product mix to include 3G GPS PDA phones in late 2008, using the 3.5G platform from Qualcomm. The handset would feature integrated application services, including photo navigation, TMC (traffic message channel) and LBS (location base service).

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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