FarEasTone sets sights on 95% 4G coverage by year’s end
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-31 11:50 AM

FarEasTone (4904) held an investors conference Wednesday where company president Yvonne Li stated, 700MHz 4G coverage is expected to reach population coverage of 95% by the end of the year and increase to 99% in 2015.

Li further announced that the company will introduce 4G service at the 1800MHz frequency band before the end of September. In areas where 4G usage is high, dual frequency bands will allow consumers to enjoy stable 4G internet speed. The selection of mobile devices available to consumers will also increase with the addition of the 1800MHz frequency band.

In preparation for 4G service, FarEasTone’s capital expenditure this year reached a historical peak at NT$13 billion. Li remarked that capital expenditure will be reduced next year as capital expenditure on 3G equipment gradually falls.

Li pointed out, in the next three years, the company will fully focus on revenue from new businesses. She estimated that by 2016 new business revenue will account for 6% of total revenue to become the company’s primary growth momentum. New businesses will include enterprise information and communications integration solutions, promotion of mobile Apps, BYOD (bring your own device), and automotive enterprise information and communications. Digital services will focus on audio video, ecommerce, and SOLOMO services.

Li indicated, the downward trend in revenue from voice services is inevitable but, currently, this trend is slow and stable. In the future, the introduction of the VoLTE service will mean consumers will have to access the internet to use voice service. According to the current rate structure, fees include both voice and internet rates. In the long term, the introduction of 4G means average revenue per user (ARPU) will continue to grow and total revenue will grow relatively.

FarEasTone posted consolidated Q2 revenue of NT$22.02 billion and after-tax earnings of NT$3.46 billion, growing 11% compared to the same period last year. Consolidated revenue for the first half of the year was NT$44.88 billion for an annual growth rate of 1.57%. Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was NT$13.77 billion. Net income was NT$6.57 billion for an annual growth rate of 10.51%. Net profit per share was NT$2.02, growing 11.2% compared to the same period last year.

As of the end of June 2014, the total number of FarEasTone customers had grown for 50 consecutive months at an annual growth rate of 4% to 7.34 million users. Data service subscribers total 3.45 million with an annual growth rate of 27%.

FarEasTone’s mobile smartphone penetration rate grew steadily in Q2 while the proportion of mobile service revenue accounted for by data service in Q2 continued to increase, reaching 43.9%.

Looking ahead to the latter part of the year, FarEasTone will accelerate the construction of its 4G network. Before the end of July, the scope of 4G infrastructure had reached all 22 counties and cities in Taiwan and throughout all major metropolitan areas. Over 60 popular attractions in every part Taiwan can already receive a 4G signal. FarEasTone estimates, by the end of August, at least 90 attractions more will be added for a total of 150.

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