STAMFORD, Conn. -- The government of Taiwan announced that it has awarded a nationwide license for digital cellular communications services to Pacific Communication Services Co. Ltd, a consortium in which GTE Corp. is the only foreign stakeholder.
Under terms of the license, the consortium
will provide DCS 1800 service (Digital Cellular Service) throughout
Taiwan. GTE, which has a 12 percent stake in the consortium,
will assist with the design, build-out and operation of the system,
with service expected to be launched in 1998. GTE estimates that
it will invest approximately US$90 million in the venture.
"We are pleased and honored to join
with Taiwan's leading companies in this consortium," said
Lee K. Toole, president of GTE China and vice president International
- Asia/Pacific. "We believe GTE's extensive experience in
designing and operating wireless systems -- both in the United
States and abroad -- will assist Pacific Communication Services
in meeting the strong demand for wireless service in Taiwan and
help ensure the best possible service offering for Pacific's customers,"
Pacific Electric Wire and Cable of Taiwan
(PEWC) will be the largest stakeholder in the consortium. Best
known for its cable and telecom-related manufacturing, PEWC also
operates a wireless public telephone network in Taiwan and holds
investments in a Hong Kong wireless venture and Iridium, the 66-satellite
system that intends to provide worldwide personal communications
Other local partners in the consortium
are Acer Inc., the computer manufacturer; Evergreen, Taiwan's
largest transportation company; Fubon Bank; Continental, a construction
engineering company; and Yageo, an electronic component manufacturer.
Taiwan, with a population of 22 million,
is an attractive market that has experienced strong economic growth
of 6.5 percent and modest inflation over the past five years.
With a low cellular penetration rate of approximately 5 percent
today and an average annual household income of $35,000, Taiwan
represents a relatively untapped and lucrative market.
With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE
is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies
in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.-based local telephone
company and a leading cellular-service provider -- with wireline
and wireless operations that form a market area covering about
one third of the country's population. Outside the United States,
where GTE has operated for more than 70 years, the company serves
over 6 million customers. GTE is also a worldwide leader in aircraft-passenger
telecommunications, directories and telecommunications-based information
services and systems.