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  • Twenty Percent of Taiwan Residents to Own Mobile Phones
  • December 15, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- Mobile phone companies in Taiwan forecast that 20 percent of local residents will have mobile phones by the end of 1998.
    The figure is generally expected to climb further to 35 percent in 1999, which means that more than seven million people here will have mobile phones by that time.

    Private mobile phone companies debuted in the Taiwan market at the end of 1997, when only seven percent of local residents were mobile phone users.

    Amid concerns that the global economic slowdown will batter the local telecom market, private mobile phone companies here remain optimistic, and foresee three million new users in the upcoming year.

    An executive with KG Telecommunications Co., Ltd. said forecasts often lag behind real demand in mobile phone markets.

    She pointed out that the number of new mobile phone users in Taiwan this year is one to two times higher than the figures previously predicted, and such underestimation also happened in many other countries.

    The KG Telecom executive added that the expected three million new customers for the local mobile phone market include both new users and users who want to change service providers.

    KG Telecom now has about 300,000 mobile phone customers.

    Pacific Cellular Corp. expects mobile phone users to increase to 30-35 percent of the entire population in Taiwan.

    The company, which already has one million customers, expects to solicit another million users in 1999.

    Far EastTone predicts a 22 percent mobile phone user rate for 1998, adding that the figure may go as high as 25 percent.

    By the end of 1999, the company estimated, the figure is expected to rise to 30-35 percent.

    State-run Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd., which already has 2.3 million customers, is comparatively more conservative, forecasting only a 25 percent mobile phone user rate for next year.

    (Commercial Times, Taiwan)

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    Updated: Mon Dec 14 19:48:43 1998 PDT