TAIPEI (CNA) — Due to telecom operators cutting back smartphone service fees, the mobile Internet use rate in Taiwan surpassed 70 percent for the first time ever in 2018, according to the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC).
In the first half of the year, Chunghwa Telecom Co., one of the leading telecom service providers in Taiwan launched a NT$499 (US$16.20) 4G monthly subscription package for unlimited Internet access.
The lowest-ever monthly subscription plan caught the market off guard, triggering a price war in the local telecom service industry, a move dubbed the “499 chaos”, which prompted more and more consumers to embrace the mobile Internet age.
Partly as a result of this, the number of local consumers aged 12 or older who used the mobile Internet was estimated at 16.37 million, pushing up the mobile Internet use rate to 77.3 percent, up 10 percent from a year earlier, a recent survey conducted by the TWNIC showed.
The TWNIC is in charge of domain name registration and IP address allocation in Taiwan.
If fixed line Internet users are included, the number of Taiwanese who log onto the Internet through either fixed line or mobile services was estimated at 18.66 million, with an Internet use rate of 79.2 percent last year, the TWNIC cited the survey as saying.
An estimated 17.38 million Taiwanese who were 12 years old or older and used the Internet through either mobile devices or fixed platforms, with the Internet use rate at 82.1 percent in 2018, the TWNIC said.
The survey found about 7.05 million households in Taiwan had access to the Internet, accounting for 80.9 percent of the total number of households last year. According to the survey, 80.8 percent of the households with Internet access used broadband services to gain such access.
In Taiwan, Internet services varied from video/audio content, social media, smart devices, education applications, online gaming, e-commerce, sharing economy, financial technology, artificial intelligence, self-driving and blockchain technology, the TWNIC said.
Blockchain technology, originally devised for transactions of the digital currency Bitcoin, is seen as the backbone of a new type of Internet in which information held on a blockchain exists.
According to the survey, more than 80 percent of netizens in Taiwan used social media and 60 percent of them used e-commerce, while those who accessed smart and education applications appeared relatively low.
The survey collected 3,088 valid questionnaires with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.76 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.
By Jeffrey Wu and Frances Huang