PRODUCT LAUNCH: The company will begin taking pre-sale orders from today through Dec. 10, with Apple’s iconic smartphone scheduled to hit the stores in about two weeks
By Lisa Wang
Saturday, Nov 29, 2008, Page 12
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) said Apple Inc’s iPhone will hit its stores on Dec. 13, the latest effort by the nation’s biggest phone company to boost revenues amid declining mobile voice business.
Chunghwa Telecom will be the first local telecom operator to sell the iPhone in Taiwan, which has lagged behind other Asian markets such as India and Philippines in selling the smartphone.
“The sale of the iPhone certainly will help boost our data revenues as the packages cover a wide range of data transmission services such as push e-mails,” Chunghwa Telecom spokesman Shih Mu-piao (石木標) said.
“Our average revenue per user [ARPU] from iPhone users may be more than NT$1,500 [US$45], compared with NT$1,100 ARPU from 3G subscribers,” Shih said.
Data services accounts for 10 percent of Chunghwa Telecom’s overall mobile revenues of NT$18.29 billion in the third quarter.
The company said it would sell iPhones exclusively for an unspecified period, with a two-year service contract carrying a minimal month fee of NT$1,049.
To get a free iPhone with 8GB memory space, people will have to sign a two-year contract with a monthly charge of NT$2,549. Or they can buy the phone from Chunghwa Telecom for at least NT$26,600 and get a prepaid number.
“We are targeting gift shoppers during Christmas and Lunar New Year holidays,” vice president Lin Jen-hon (林仁紅) said.
Chunghwa Telecom aims to sell 50,000 iPhones by March, Lin said.
However, officials admitted that this might not be the best time to be launching the iPhone because this could be the worst shopping season in recent years.
Chunghwa Telecom will begin taking orders for its iPhones today. The presale will last to Dec 10.
Share prices of Chunghwa Telecom rose 0.57 percent to NT$52.5, better than the broader market’s 0.15 percent gain yesterday.
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Chunghwa will start selling iPhone Dec. 13
The Taipei-based phone carrier plans to offer the 8 gigabyte handset, which has storage capacity for 8,000 minutes of music, free to subscribers who sign up to its NT$2,549 (US$76.50) a month plan for two years, the company said in a statement yesterday. The same package for the 16 gigabyte iPhone will cost NT$2,990 for the handset, according to the statement.
In the U.S., an 8 GB model costs US$199 (NT$6,567) if bundled for two years with an AT&T plan that starts at US$69.99 (NT$2,310) a month.
Customers can pre-order the iPhone from today for guaranteed delivery on Dec. 13 while those who don’t pre-purchase can buy the handset on the same day if stocks are available, the statement said.
The debut of the iPhone in different parts of the world, such as the U.S. and Japan, was often met with strong enthusiasm from consumers, who lined up in front of Apple stores for days to get the device.
Shih Mu-piao, Vice President of Chunghwa’s Mobile Business unit, declined to give a forecast or minimum amount of iPhones it expects to sell.
Customers can also buy the 8 gigabyte handset without a contract for NT$26,600, or the 16 gigabyte model for NT$29,900, which includes six months’ access to Chunghwa’s third-generation and Wifi wireless-Internet networks.
The iPhone, along with the iPod Touch, is Apple’s flagship product. Slim and light, the iPhone revolutionizes the mobile phone industry with an all-touch interface. The device comes with no keypad — the system is controlled by the touching and movement of the finger on the phone’s touch-screen.
The iPhone hasn’t been available in Taiwan, despite its presence in the world for some years. Chunghwa earlier this year announced it would sell iPhones in Taiwan.
Chunghwa rose 0.6 percent to close at NT$52.5 in Taipei trading before the announcement, compared with a 0.2 percent gain by the benchmark TAIEX index. The company’s stock has fallen 2.1 percent this year on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, outperforming the 37 percent decline in the 33-member MSCI Asia-Pacific Telecom index and a 48 percent drop by the TAIEX.
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