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Far EasTone aims to have 5G cover 50% of population

Post Date 2020.06.20From:Taipei Times By Lisa Wang / Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (遠傳電信) yesterday said that it aims to expand its 5G coverage to potentially cover up to 50 percent of the nation’s population by the end of this year, after its service debuts early next month.

The company plans to launch its 5G service “within days” of when the nation’s biggest telecom operator, Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), introduces its service next month.

“The coverage ratio is more important than the base station count,” Far EasTone chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Taipei.

“We aim to boost population coverage,” Hsu said. “We want half of Taiwan’s population to have access to [Far EasTone’s 5G network] by the end of this year.”

Hsu made the remarks after Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) announced its plans to deploy 4,000 5G base stations by the end of this year, up from a planned 2,000 units.

Taiwan Mobile lagged slightly behind Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone in obtaining 5G licenses and beginning infrastructure construction.

Far EasTone plans to install more than 3,000 5G base stations before Dec. 31, company president Chee Ching (井琪) told reporters yesterday, adding that the base stations would first be installed in the nation’s six special municipalities, other populous areas and business areas.

Far EasTone on Wednesday signed an agreement with Ericsson AB to purchase about NT$9.9 billion (US$333.78 million) in telecommunications equipment, a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange said.

The telecom plans to offer different tiers of 5G service, including for as low as NT$1,000 per month, to cater to subscribers’ needs, Ching said.

There will be affordable tariffs, she said, adding that one option for subscribers would be NT$1,399 per month, the cap set by the National Communications Commission.

Far EasTone also aims to become the nation’s biggest supplier of private networks, Ching said.

The company received its first order to build a private 5G network for an enterprise customer, she said, adding that it has 40 more potential customers.

Unlike 4G networks, which are public, 5G networks can be sliced into spectrums to be used by various app-driven industries, said Philip Tseng (曾詩淵), vice president of Far EasTone’s enterprise and carrier business unit.

Far EasTone aims to increase its revenue contribution from enterprise customers to 25 percent this year, from 22 percent in the first quarter.

Far EasTone in January secured 80 megahertz (MHz) in the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band of the 5G spectrum and 400MHz in the 28GHz band at a combined cost of NT$43.04 billion.

Company shareholders approved a proposal to pay a cash dividend of NT$3.25 per share, which represents a payout ratio of 121 percent.