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By the end of June 2010, we estimate that Taiwan’s mobile subscriber base stood at 27.760mn, reflectingan increase of 0.7% in Q210. This, in addition to the 1.1% growth in Q110, brings total mobile growth inH110 to 1.8%, considerably lower than the 3.5% growth recorded for the same period in 2009. Thissuggests that the days of rapid expansion in Taiwan’s mobile sector may be over given the high mobilepenetration rates in the country. By the end of December, there were 27.26mn Taiwanese mobilecustomers, giving the country a penetration rate of 117.7%. BMI’s figures for the total subscriber base arebased on data published by the three main mobile operators and the telecoms regulatory authority, theNational Communications Commission (NCC). Given that the market performance in H110 is in linewith our expectations, our forecast for the development of the sector over the next five years areunchanged this quarter. Meanwhile, we expect 3G to be main growth driver in the market over theforecast period; a view supported by the sharp fall in operator’s reported 2G subscriber figures. Newfigures released by the leading operators suggest that 3G subscriptions reached around 61.6% of totalmobile subscriptions at the end of Q210. By the end of 2010, we predict that nearly 70% of Taiwanesemobile customers will have 3G-enabled handsets.
Mobile operators experienced a mixed performance in their ARPU rates in the first half of 2010. Whilerates fell sharply in Q110, there was a considerable rebound in the second quarter of the year. We stillexpect ARPU rates to bear downwards despite operators’ effort at attracting higher value customers,however, the rate of decline is expected to much slower than in previous years.
Our internet forecasts have largely remained unchanged this quarter following a revision of ourexpectations in our previous report. In addition to the lack of new data from the regulator to suggestotherwise, subscriber figures released by market leader Chunghwa Telecom are in line with our forecasts.
Therefore, we still anticipate that, by the end of 2014, Taiwan will have almost 28.7mn broadbandsubscribers, equivalent to over 122% penetration. The high penetration rate reflects the phenomenonwhereby an increasing number of broadband internet customers subscribe to both a fixed and mobilebroadband service.
Taiwan continues to sit in seventh place in BMI’s Business Environment Ratings for the Asia Pacificregion. Although Taiwan scores below the regional average in the telecoms market category, its otherscores are all above average. In the case of industry risk and country risk, Taiwan’s scores are among thehighest in the region.