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Telecoms carrier to focus on house-branded handsets

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan Mobile (TWM, 台灣大哥大) yesterday announced the company's plans to increase distribution of its branded smartphones markedly to represent 25 percent of overall sales.

The company this year procured two million handset units, of which 20 percent are products bearing the TWM brand name. With the fourth-generation mobile broadband network (4G) expected to commence operation in 2014, the company plans to procure 2.3 million handset units, of which 1.5 million units will be equipped to utilize the latest network technology, with one million handset units slated to utilize the 700Mhz bandwidth spectrum acquired by the company during a 4G network operating license auction. In addition, sales of its branded handsets will reach 25 percent of overall sales, said the company.

Handset sales are expected to increase the number of TWM subscribers to the four-million benchmark, said the company.

The company yesterday also unveiled three house-branded entry-level smartphone handsets and a tablet computer. Sales of its house-branded handsets and tablets are expected to reach 500,000 units and 50,000 units, said the company. TWM has reportedly tasked Hon Hai and mainland-based ZTE (中興) with the manufacturing of its house-branded devices.

Sales of its house-branded handsets under NT$5,000 are expected to reach 35 percent of overall handset sales, said the company, noting that it is also expecting stellar sales for entry-level handsets priced between NT$3,000 and NT$5,000.

Industry observers however, stated that mainstream manufacturers including Sony, HTC and Samsung have plans to release smartphones equipped to utilize the telecoms carrier's 700Mhz bandwidth spectrum, and that about 10 handset models will be available to consumers by the end of the second quarter next year.

TWM stated that since the debut of its house-branded devices in 2010, sales in the category have been improving continuously, growing fourfold on a year-on-year basis. The most expensive of the three handsets is priced at around NT$8,000, said the company, adding that in order to garner maximum coverage among market segments, a product is for sale at every NT$1,000 price increment.

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