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HTC mulls affordable 4G LTE phones

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's HTC Corp. (宏達電) plans to lower the prices of its smartphones supporting 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks by the end of this year to capitalize on consumer demand for affordable phones, a company executive said Tuesday.

Jack Tong, HTC's head of China and North Asia, said 2014 is the first year of 4G operations in Taiwan, and most handset makers, including HTC, are expected to tap into the market by introducing high-end 4G phones in the first half of the year.

"If consumers come to realize the convenience of 4G services and telecom operators can effectively promote 4G services, we are likely to launch 4G phones at an affordable price range by year-end," he said in Taipei while announcing the 4G LTE version of the One and Butterfly S flagship phones.

Tong did not set a price target for the affordable 4G model but said he expected the average price of 4G phones to decline faster than that of 3G models.

Asked about the possibility of using MediaTek Inc. chips in HTC products, meanwhile, Tong said HTC will evaluate various kinds of technologies in its bid to attain a leadership position in the 4G market.

The Taoyuan-based company is set to release a new low-cost 3G phone with "highly standardized specifications" in the first quarter in a move to take advantage of Taiwanese operators' strong push to get subscribers to shift from 2G to 3G networks, the executive said.

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