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Telecoms maneuver against industry leader
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-17 11:33 AM

Taiwan Mobile (3045) and FarEasTone (4904) plan to swap frequency bands and have agreed to surrender a portion of their respective spectrum to facilitate the introduction of 1,800MHz 4G service by both companies. Currently, surrendered spectrum has obtained approval by the National Communications Commission (NCC). Both companies plan to introduce their services in September.

During the 4G license bid solicitation Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone each won the 1,800MHz frequency band on which the other’s 2G network ran. Originally, surrender of 2G spectrum is not required until June 2017. Thus, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone introduced 4G service at 700MHz.

Chunghwa Telecom (2412) is currently the only company in Taiwan that has introduced 4G service at 1,800MHz. However, in an effort to seize market share from Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone have agreed in Q2 to surrender 5MHz of bandwidth to allow both companies to introduce 4G service at 1,800MHz.

The NCC stated, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone have each already returned 5MHz of bandwidth at the 1,800MHz frequency band. In the future, companies can reapply for frequency allotment and submit construction plans to quickly introduce service. Currently, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone still possess between 600,000 and 700,000 2G customers. Their remaining spectrum resources are sufficient for 2G user needs.

In related news, Hon Hai (2317) subsidiary Taiwan Intelligent Fiber Optic Network Consortium (Taifo) obtained NCC licensing for local networking in Taipei City Wednesday. The company plans to introduce 100M and 300M high speed fiber-optic internet service at the end of the year.

Taifo recently obtained a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project from the Taipei Municipal Government. After the merger between Hon Hai subsidiary Ambit Microsystems and Asia Pacific Telecom, the 4G competitive strength of the Hon Hai Group increased significantly with mobile and fixed-line planning falling into place. Industry insiders believe that Hon Hai has laid a solid network foundation and is ready to challenge mobile and fixed-line leader Chunghwa Telecom.

The NCC stated, in the future Taifo will introduce voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) technology to land-lines and fiber-optic internet service.

Taifo stated, fiber-optic ports currently in households number 7,000 and this number is expected to reach 10,000 by year’s end. Internet service coverage for Taipei City is 36%. Coverage will reach 60% by the end of the year and approximately 80% in the latter half of next year. Before the end of 2014, the company will introduce high speed internet service to Nangang and Neihu. The Taipei Municipal Government has already promised priority for Taifo service at government agencies.

Taifo plans to introduce high speed fiber-optic internet service at speeds over 100M priced at 10% below market.

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