Taiwanese leading telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom recently announced that the company plans to invest around NT$10 billion (US$333 million; US$1=NT$30) in 2023 to expand construction for its 5G base stations to 20,000, up from 16,000 in the end of 2022, the Commercial Daily News reported on January 6. The company boasts that its 5G network coverage will cover 95% of the population by 2023. While continuing to expand its 5G network coverage, the company is likely to stop 3G network services by June 2024, shifting all 3G users to 4G VoLTE (Voice Over LTE) networks. The company kicked off 5G network construction in June 2020 with capex of NT$8.8 billion (US$293 million), which was increased to NT$16.8 billion (US$560 million) and NT$14.5 billion (US$483 million) in 2021 and 2022, respectively. In addition to big-scale base stations, the company is considering to build small cells provided by Nokia and Ericsson to enhance indoor 5G coverage.
Shipment value of the global communication industry, comprising of telecom devices, telecom networks, and enterprise WLAN, is estimated to grow 2.2% year-on-year to reach US$758.3 billion in 2023, according to MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), a division of III (Institute for Information Industry), a major government think tank, and one of leading IT research institutes in Taiwan. While 5G network expansion continues around the world, MIC forecasts that global 5G smartphone shipment volume will top about 840 million units in 2023 and account for over 60% of the total smartphones, up from 650 million units in 2022.