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Chunghwa Telecom set to double LTE device offerings

TAIPEI -- Top mobile carrier Chunghwa Telecom Co. has teamed up with Sony Mobile Communications to offer more 4G LTE-enabled phones and tablets ahead of the planned launch of Taiwan's 4G network in the second half of the year.

The partnership will boost Chunghwa Telecom's LTE-ready devices to 15 -- including four from Sony -- for customers signing up for a 30 month contract that offers 5 gigabytes of data per month.

Chunghwa Telecom plans to sell a total of at least 30 types of LTE-ready devices this quarter to draw in customers from other carriers ahead of the launch of its LTE network later this year, said Lin Kuo-feng, president of Chunghwa Telecom's mobile business group.

“Sony's competitive 4G products, from high-end to mid-range and entry-level price bands, will help upgrade our customers' satisfaction with the 4G LTE network,” Lin said at a Thursday press conference to announce the partnership.

Chunghwa Telecom has plans to purchase 2.3 million smartphones and tablets this year, of which 43 percent will be LTE-ready models, he said.

He predicted penetration of LTE devices to reach 80 percent of the market next year, when more affordable 4G products hit local shelves.

Chunghwa Telecom acquired its 35 megahertz (MHz) bandwidth by winning three frequency blocks with a bidding amount of NT$39.08 billion (US$1.33 billion).

A total of 600,000 Taiwanese mobile subscribers are expected to shift from the current 3G network to the super-fast 4G services in 2014 when providers begin offering 4G services, according to market research company IDC.

The number of 4G subscribers in Taiwan, however, is projected to soar 13.5 fold to 8.1 million by 2015 as services continue to expand and improve, IDC forecast.

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