Taipei, June 10 (CNA) Taiwan Mobile Co., the country's No. 2 mobile provider, launched a new smartphone under its own brand name Monday in cooperation with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. to cash in on the popular low-cost phone market segment.
The A5 smartphone marks the first time that Hon Hai, the main manufacturer of Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads, has produced a mobile phone for a local operator that carries the operator's own brand, according to Taiwan Mobile.
"Most smartphones on the market are too expensive," Taiwan Mobile Co-president Cliff Lai told a press conference held to launch the own-brand phones.
The A5 phone, featuring a 4.3-inch display and a 1-gigabyte dual-core processor, will go on sale from mid-July at NT$3,990 (US$134) for a contract-free model.
Taiwan Mobile also launched another three own-branded phones with screen sizes of 3.5, 4 and 5 inches, in cooperation with Chinese handset maker ZTE Corp., the company said.
Lai estimated that the company's own-brand phones will account for over 20 percent of its total smartphone purchase amount this year, up from between 11 and 12 percent in 2012.
Taiwan Mobile plans to order 1.8 million smartphones in 2013, up from the 1.5 million to 1.6 million units for the previous year, he added.
According to market intelligence firm ABI Research, shipments of sub-US$250 low-cost smartphones will grow from 259 million in 2013 to 788 million in 2018, with a penetration rate rising from 30 to 46 percent over the same period.
(By Jeffrey Wu)