Chunghwa launches Taiwan's first LTE network

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom has switched on the nation's first LTE network, one month earlier than expected.

The operator formally launched the network on Thursday and started taking customer subscriptions on Friday, according to Asia News Network.

Chunghwa is offering data plans ranging in price from TW$236 ($7.90) to TW$2,636 ($87.90) per month, as well as an option for 3G subscribers with compatible handsets to upgrade to a 4G plan for a monthly fee of TW$1,336.

The company has announced plans to have more than 50 devices in its 4G handset line-up by the third quarter. Vendors will include HTC, Samsung, Apple, LG and Huawei.

Besides telephony services, Chunghwa plans to use its 4G network to provide four categories of value-added services – HD videos, music streaming, 3D navigation and cloud-based gaming.

The 4G launch had its share of first-day issues, the China Post separately reported. On online forums, some subscribers complained that Chunghwa's 4G network had not been delivering the expected speeds during initial trials, and took issue with the lack of an unlimited 4G data plan option.

Another launch issue is that iPhone users will be unable to use their handsets on the 4G network until a firmware update is released in late June.

Lastly, Taiwanese regulator NBTC has not yet approved operators to upgrade their existing 3G customers to 4G under their current contracts. Chunghwa has announced it will be offering free upgrades once this approval is given, and aims to make migrating its 3G customers to 4G a top priority.

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