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Mobile Taiwan: A Look at a Highly Mobile Market

Country has the highest smartphone penetration in the world

December 16, 2016 | Mobile | Telecom

By at least one measure, Taiwan is the most mobile country in the world. It has the highest smartphone user penetration of any country tracked by eMarketer.

Mobile Phone* and Smartphone** Users in Taiwan, 2015-2020

According to eMarketer's estimates, 73.4% of Taiwan's population use smartphones. Even in mobile-dominant APAC, that tops the list. The closest APAC markets are Singapore, at 71.8%, and South Korea, at 70.4%. By comparison, the US rate is 63.9% and China is 43.8%.

Samsung is the leading smartphone brand in Taiwan, according to Digitimes Research, with nearly a quarter of total sales volume in June 2016. The next three most popular are AsusTek, Apple and HTC. All claim at least 15% of the market. AsusTek and HTC are local Taiwanese brands.

Top 5 Smartphone Brands in Taiwan, Ranked by Sales Volume Share, June 2016 (% of total sales)

A majority of users prefer Android software. According to a study the Vpon mobile advertising platform did of its clients, seven out of 10 of the smartphones and tablets in Taiwan are powered by Android, as of Q2 2016.

Not surprisingly, given the high mobile penetration, Taiwan’s connection speeds are first-rate. According to the country's National Communications Commission, 4G connections are increasing, and surpassed the falling 3G connections in May 2016. As of June 2016, 15.2 million connections were at 4G speeds, which were used by 64.4% of the population.

Google’s Consumer Barometer reported that 39% of respondents in Taiwan use smartphones more often than computers or tablets to access the internet. Some 50% use them equally.

When it comes to market share of mobile service providers, Vpon reported that on its platform, three claimed at least a quarter of the market. Chunghwa Telecom was the largest mobile service provider in Taiwan as of Q2 2016, with 39.6% of the total. Taiwan Mobile took second place with a 27.1% share, followed by Far EasTone (25.7%).

Mobile Service Provider Share in Taiwan, Q2 2016 (% of total on Vpon's platform)

Among these, Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile have the highest LTE coverage in the country, according to data from OpenSignal. In Q4 2015, mobile internet users on this network could connect to a 4G signal 84% of the time.

Looking past 4G, in October 2016, Far EasTone announced a partnership with Ericsson and the launch of a 5G lab. The partnership’s goal is to accelerate the 5G technology and plan a commercial rollout as early as 2020.

—Dustin Sodano

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