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2008 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Taiwan

Taiwan is a country leading in technology use. The report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media..


Taiwan has been very progressive in its efforts to liberalise the telecommunications industry and to create a positive regulatory regime. Despite the odd bout of bureaucratic bickering, structural reforms have been achieved. At the same time, Taiwan’s telecommunication infrastructure has been upgraded significantly, undergoing a series of network modernisation projects over the last decade or so.

Internet growth has been phenomenal in Taiwan. The proportion of the population who are Internet users has exceeded 65%. Some 80% of all homes in Taiwan own PCs and around 70% of homes have Internet connections. The market has moved rapidly away from dial-up access to broadband, mainly on DSL subscriptions, and over 60% of all Internet connections are broadband. The government has committed the country to being on a par with the US by 2010. Going into 2008 broadband penetration had been lifted to over 20%. There are a large number of ISPs, although a handful of big ones continue to dominate the market.

Taiwan’s mobile market has been a remarkable phenomenon. By early 2002, the country had reached the milestone of one mobile service for every person on the island. After peaking at a penetration of 114% in late 2003, the penetration was sitting at around 105% going into 2008.

Consistent with the performance of its impressive mobile sector, Taiwan moved energetically into the ‘next generation’ of mobile services. Following the awarding of five licences for 3G services in 2002, one of the new licensees, APBW, launched its CDMA2000 1x service in 2003. The market newcomer passed the ‘one million subscribers’ milestone in late 2006, having grown fivefold in just three years. Three other 3G licensees launched their 3G services in 2005 and now account for nearly 15% of the total mobile subscriber base.

Taiwan has one of the highest TV penetrations in the world. In recent times, change has been the order of the day in Taiwan’s television industry - the establishment of a public television system, the legalisation of private cable TV operations, the increased popularity of satellite broadcasting, the promotion of digital television, and the employment of a whole range of new digital technologies.

Key highlights:

  • In January 2008 the Taiwan Government raised the cap on foreign ownership in Chunghwa Telecom to 55% from the previous 49%. The direct foreign ownership cap remained at 49%; with the change referring to combined direct and indirect holdings. The direct ownership cap in Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone is also 49% with indirect foreign holding capped at 60%.
  • The government announced plans to invest US$664 million on the development of WiMAX technology over the next few years. WiMAX equipment manufacturers and operators were encouraged to co-operate to support the government aims to make Taiwan a ‘role model’ for wireless broadband development in Asia.
  • Incumbent mobile operators Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile failed to secure spectrum at 2.5GHz. They were outbid by six companies, which walked away with the regional licences. The highest bidder, FITEL, agreed to pay 12.89% of its WiMAX service revenue to the government, and Far EasTone won with the lowest revenue-share bid of 4.18%.
  • Mobile voice volume surpassed that of fixed voice communications for the first time in 2007.
In early 2008, three Taiwanese operators announced their investment plans for network expansion:
    1. The Far Eastern Group planned to spend NT$10.4 billion (US$340 million) in 2008 to boost its 3.5G and WiMAX operations. The group won a WiMAX licence covering southern parts of the country in the first half of 2007.
    2. Chunghwa Telecom planned to invest NT$46 billion during 2008-2012 with the aim of achieving 80% broadband coverage by 2011. The company aimed to have 1 million Multimedia-On-Demand subscribers on its fibre network by end-2008, rising from less than 500,000 by end-2007.
    3. Taiwan Mobile Company planned to accelerate the deployment of its fibre optic network with a NT$8 billion investment, but had not specified a timescale.
During 2007, a number of the five operators awarded trial licences for mobile TV started operations with the DVB-H standard.
Taiwan’s mobile operators sold over 7 million handsets between them in 2007, with sales in 2008 expected to top 7.5 million units. Taiwan Internet, broadband and telecoms statistics - 2004 - 2007
Sector 2004 2005 2006 2007
Internet (million)
Internet users 12.2 13.2 14.5 15.4
Internet subscribers 8.0 7.3 7.0 6.0
Mobile Internet subscribers 5.3 8.1 9.1 11.8
- as % of all mobile subscribers 23.5% 36.4% 39.4% 48.8%
Broadband (million)
Total subscribers 3.7 4.2 4.5 4.6
Penetration rate 16.3% 18.5% 19.7% 20.2%
Proportion of Internet subscribers 46.0% 58.0% 61.0% 62.0%
DSL subscribers 3.1 3.6 3.8 3.8
Subscribers to Telecoms Services (million)
Fixed-line telephone subscribers 13.5 13.6 13.4 13.3
Mobile phone subscribers 22.7 22.1 23.2 24.2
- 3G subscribers 0.5 0.9 1.8 3.5
- 3G market share of mobile base 2.1% 4.2% 7.9% 14.4%

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)
For those needing high level strategic analysis and objective analysis on Taiwan, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:
  • Chunghwa Telecom’s ambitious CAPEX program, which includes increasing the penetration rate of its fibre-optic network to at least 25% of Taiwan’s households over a five year period.
  • Chunghwa Telecom’s investment in a 30% stake in Skysoft, the owner of online music provider KKBOX for NT$44 million, to boost its multimedia services. KKBOX is Taiwan’s largest provider of music download services with over 300,000 paying members and 3.5 million registered users.
  • Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone plans to expand their HSDPA networks to cover 90% and 75% of the population going into 2008.
  • Collaboration between Chunghwa Telecom, High Tech Computer Corporation and Google on an open-standards based handset and platform called Android. Chunghwa Telecom hoped to be the first Taiwanese operator to launch an Android-based handset.
  • Plans by GPS navigation device maker Mio Technology to expand its product mix to include 3G GPS PDA phones in late 2008, using the 3.5G platform from Qualcomm. The handset would feature integrated application services, including photo navigation, TMC (traffic message channel) and LBS (location base service).
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview
2.1.1 Taiwan earthquake - December 2006
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Regulatory authorities
3.2 The 1996 Telecom Bill
3.3 National Communications Commission (NCC) Bill - 2005
3.4 Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC)
3.5 Privatisation of Chunghwa Telecom
3.6 The deregulation process
3.6.1 Liberalised mobile market
3.6.2 Liberalised fixed-line market
3.6.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
3.6.4 World Trade Organization (WTO) membership
3.7 Foreign investment
3.8 Licence fee and rental charges
3.9 WiMAX
4. Fixed Network Operators in Taiwan
4.1 Fixed network voice services
4.1.1 Market overview
4.1.2 VoIP services
4.2 Overview of operators
4.2.1 Chunghwa Telecom Co Ltd
4.2.2 Eastern Broadband Telecom
4.2.3 New Century InfoComm Tech Co Ltd (Sparq)
4.2.4 Taiwan Fixed Network Telecom
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National
5.1.1 NGN/IP networks
5.1.2 Network expansion
5.2 International
5.2.1 Submarine cable networks
5.2.2 Satellite networks
6. Broadband and Internet Market
6.1 Internet market
6.1.1 Overview
6.1.2 Public Internet access
6.1.3 Internet hosts
6.1.4 Direct Internet access network
6.1.5 TWGate
6.1.6 ISP market
6.2 E-services
6.2.1 Overview
6.2.2 E-commerce
6.2.3 E-banking
6.2.4 E-government
6.3 Broadband market
6.3.1 Overview
6.3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.3.3 Cable modems
6.3.4 Wireless broadband
6.3.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
6.3.6 Video-on-Demand (VoD)
6.3.7 High-speed ISP services
7. Convergence
7.1 Overview of media convergence
7.2 Overview of broadcasting market
7.2.1 Broadcasting and film
7.3 Regulatory issues
7.3.1 National Communications Commission (NCC)
7.3.2 Cable licences
7.3.3 Cable Audio and TV law 1999
7.4 Digital TV
7.4.1 Broadband TV
7.4.2 Cable TV and pay TV
7.4.3 Satellite TV
7.4.4 Digital Terrestrial TV
7.4.5 Mobile TV
8. Mobile Communications
8.1 Overview of Taiwan’s mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.2 Regulatory issues
8.2.1 Impact of competition
8.2.2 Low tier mobile licences
8.3 Mobile technologies
8.3.1 Third Generation (3G) mobile
8.3.2 Next generation services
8.3.3 Mobile handset market
8.4 Major mobile operators
8.4.1 Chunghwa Telecom
8.4.2 Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET)
8.4.3 KG Telecom
8.4.4 MobiTai Telecom
8.4.5 Taiwan Mobile (formerly Taiwan Cellular)
8.4.6 Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless (APBW)
8.4.7 VIBO Telecom
8.5 Mobile voice services
8.5.1 Prepaid cards
8.5.2 Personal Handyphone Service (PHS)/Personal Access System (PAS)
8.6 Mobile data services
8.6.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
8.6.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
8.6.3 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
8.6.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
8.6.5 Mobile Internet
8.6.6 Video calls
8.6.7 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
8.6.8 WiMAX
9. Glossary of Abbreviations
Table 1 - Country statistics Taiwan - 2008
Table 2 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2007
Table 3 - Telephone network statistics - 2007
Table 4 - Internet user statistics - 2007
Table 5 - Broadband statistics - 2007
Table 6 - Mobile statistics - 2007
Table 7 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 8 - Fixed telephone lines versus mobile subscriptions and penetrations - 1997 - 2007
Table 9 - Call volumes for mobile and fixed networks - 1999 - 2007
Table 10 - Distribution of telecom revenue by services - 2007
Table 11 - Data communication revenue as proportion of total telecom revenue - 2001 - 2007
Table 12 - Fixed network operators - market share by revenue - 2007
Table 13 - Chunghwa Telecom fixed subscribers and market share - 2004 - 2007
Table 14 - Chunghwa Telecom subscriber base - February 2008
Table 15 - Chunghwa Telecom revenue, CAPEX, net profit and employees - 2000 - 2007
Table 16 - Chunghwa Telecom fixed-line & mobile subscribers and market share - 2000 - 2007
Table 17 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2007
Table 18 - International outgoing calls overview - 1980; 1985; 1990; 1995; 2000 - 2006
Table 19 - Internet users - 1995 - 2007
Table 20 - Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2008
Table 21 - Internet subscribers by access method - 2007
Table 22 - International Internet bandwidth capacity - 2001 - 2007
Table 23 - Data communications revenue - 2001 - 2007
Table 24 - Internet hosts in Taiwan - 2001 - 2007
Table 25 - Chunghwa Telecom Internet subscribers by access type - 2003 - 2007
Table 26 - Chunghwa Telecom Internet ARPU (NT$) - 2003 - 2007
Table 27 - Broadband subscribers, penetration & proportion of Internet subscribers - 2000 - 2007
Table 28 - Broadband subscribers and households - 2007
Table 29 - Broadband subscribers by access type and annual change - 2007
Table 30 - DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 31 - Chunghwa Telecom broadband subscribers and market share - 2001 - 2007
Table 32 - Chunghwa Telecom HiNet subscriber and ARPU - 2004 - 2006
Table 33 - Breakdown of xDSL and cable download speeds - 2007
Table 34 - GigaMedia broadband subscribers - 1999 - 2005
Table 35 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2006
Table 36 - Leading pay TV platforms
Table 37 - Media consumption in Taiwan - 2006
Table 38 - Pay TV subscribers by platform - 2002 - 2007
Table 39 - Cable TV operator revenues and investment in select countries - 2004 - 2006
Table 40 - Mobile TV trial broadcasters
Table 41 - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1995 - 2007
Table 42 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2003 - 2007
Table 43 - Mobile services revenue - 1992 - 2007
Table 44 - 2G and 3G mobile services ARPU - 2005 - 2007
Table 45 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2007
Table 46 - Mobile subscribers, market share and ARPU by operator - 2007
Table 47 - Chunghwa Telecom mobile subscribers and annual change - 1998 - 2008
Table 48 - Chunghwa Telecom 3G fee rate chart - February 2008
Table 49 - Far EasTone mobile subscribers and annual change - 1998 - 2007
Table 50 - KG Telecom mobile subscribers and annual change - 1998 - 2006
Table 51 - Taiwan Mobile subscribers and annual change - 1998 - 2007
Table 52 - Taiwan Mobile revenue, net profit after tax - 2001 - 2007
Table 53 - APBW mobile subscribers and annual change - 2003 - 2007
Table 54 - VIBO Telecom mobile subscribers and annual change - 2005 - 2007
Table 55 - Prepaid 2G subscribers - market share - 2000 - 2007
Table 56 - PHS subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 57 - Mobile data service revenue as proportion of total mobile revenue - 2001 - 2007
Table 58 - SMS message volume and revenue - 2000 - 2007
Table 59 - WAP subscribers - 2001 - 2006
Table 60 - GPRS subscribers - 2001 - 2006
Table 61 - Mobile Internet subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 62 - Taiwan 2.5GHz spectrum winners
Exhibit 1 - Major broadcasting organisations
Exhibit 2 - Mobile data licence winners

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