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Far EasTone expects 5G clients to hit 1 million

Post Date 2021.01.25From:Taipei Times By Lisa Wang / Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) expects the number of its 5G subscribers to more than double to 1 million by August, about a year after the commercial launch of its 5G services.

That would take the telecom operator’s 5G penetration rate to 20 percent of its 5 million postpaid mobile users, Far EasTone president Ching Chee (井琪) told reporters on Monday.

The company has about 400,000 5G subscribers at present.

With such a rapid adoption rate, Far EasTone said that its 5G penetration rate could go beyond 30 percent by the end of this year.

Far EasTone’s average revenue per user rebounded in September last year, thanks to an increase in 5G subscriptions.

However, heavy depreciation and amortization on 5G equipment, amounting to NT$170 million (US$5.97 million) per month, and the more than NT$1 billion the company paid for the 5G spectrum diluted the company’s profit last year, Ching said.

Far EasTone plans to budget more capital expenditure this year as it is stepping up construction of 5G infrastructure, she said, adding that the company plans to raise its total number of 5G base stations to more than 8,500 this year.

That would boost 5G coverage to between 83 percent and 90 percent, Far EasTone said.

Far EasTone had budgeted NT$10.2 billion for capital spending for last year, the highest since 2015. The telecom did not disclose its capital spending for this year.

Based on the firm’s initial calculations last year, overall 5G deployments could cost NT$20 billion to NT$30 billion in the first three years of the technology’s debut.

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday said that it aims to more than double the number of its 5G base stations this year, reaching more than 10,000 from 4,500 last year.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Far EasTone offered the fastest mobile data download speed of 315.45 megabits per second on 5G networks, compared with the nation’s average data download speed of 259.45Mbps, an Ookla report said.