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Chunghwa joins cutthroat 4G pricing competition

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In response to growing competition by rival carriers such as Taiwan Star Cellular Co.'s (台灣之星) NT$599 monthly unlimited 4G usage contracts, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT, 中華電) yesterday began offering a number of lower-priced 4G mobile subscription plans.

Late last month the company previewed a variety of lower-priced 4G plans available for monthly payments of NT$636, NT$936 and NT$1,136, offering subscribers added voice call minutes and mobile broadband usage volumes. The company specified that subscribers signing on to new contracts would enjoy unlimited 4G usage in the initial 6 months of their contract period, taking advantage of tripled bonus 4G usage volume and doubled free voice call minutes beginning on the 7th month of their contract. Thirty months of full throttle 4G connection speeds will be extended to subscribers signing up for NT$1,336 monthly payments, said the company, and in addition, complimentary voice calls to phone numbers in the CHT network and quadrupled land line numbers, the company said.

Meanwhile, CHT, Taiwan Mobile (TWM, 台灣大) and Far EasTone (FET, 遠傳) yesterday kept pace in allowing the companies' current subscribers to upgrade their existing 3G plans to 4G.

Concurrently, portions of TWM and FET's 4G networks based on the 1800MHz band commenced operations yesterday, bringing 4G connectivity to subscribers using iPhone handsets.

Reports indicate that following the conclusion of the operating license auctions last year, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone last week completed mutual 4G bandwidth block swaps to ensure the best service for their subscribers via the 1800MHz band.

FET stated that 4G coverage will be improved to 80 percent throughout Taiwan's four major population centers.

TWM and FET Previews Carrier Aggregation Technology

Most notably, TWM and FET stated that the company will complete its adoption of the carrier aggregation (CA) technology early this month that will allow subscribers to simultaneously draw data from both its 700MHz- and 1800MHz-band based 4G network segments and enjoy stronger coverage through improved signal penetration capabilities. TWM illustrated CA's benefit for mobile subscribers as adding two lanes to a four-lane freeway. CA-enabled 4G service began for FET yesterday, while TWM noted that the improvement will be available early this month.

CHT yesterday also announced that the HTC Butterfly 2 handset hit shelves at the company's service locations nationwide on Sept. 8. This year's iteration of the Butterfly handset features the IPX5/IPX7 water and dust resistance certification and a duo lens camera with 13 megapixels.

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HTC (宏達電) North Asia President Jack Tong (董俊良), left, and Lin Kuo-feng (林國豐), right, the president of Chunghwa Telecom's (CHT,中華電信) mobile business group, hold up HTC Butterfly 2 smartphone for photos at a press event held in Taipei, yesterday.

The Butterfly 2, launched Aug. 19 in Tokyo.

(CNA)

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