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Sony's 4G LTE smartphone to arrive in February

TAIPEI -- Sony Mobile Communications, a mobile unit of Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp., said Monday that it will launch a new smartphone supporting the long-term evolution (LTE) network for the Taiwan market next month.

Unveiled at the Jan. 7-10 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Xperia Z1 Compact will kick off Sony Mobile's plan to introduce a full range of 4G LTE phones in Taiwan this year, said Jonathan Lin, general manager of Sony Mobile's Taiwan branch.

The company has launched more than 10 LTE phones around the world since 2012, and feels it is now time to bring the product line to Taiwan to capitalize on the country's 4G operations in the second half of this year, Lin said.

“2014 is the first year for Taiwan's 4G operations, and Sony Mobile will certainly not be absent from this market,” he said at a media gathering.

The Japanese handset maker will also launch LTE phones supporting the 700 MHz frequency band for the Taiwan market, including some “well-built” products, Lin said.

The auction for the 4G spectrum in Taiwan began Sept. 3 and came to an end Oct. 30 after 392 bidding rounds, with the bids made by six companies vying for licenses totaling NT$118.65 billion (US$3.95 billion), 3.3 times the floor price set by the government.

A total of 270 MHz of radio frequencies in the 700 MHz, 900 MHzand 1,800 MHz spectrums for 4G services were up for auction.

Some 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, however, is projected to soar 13.5 fold to 8.1 million by 2015, thanks to the improving quality of 4G services, IDC said in a report.

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