Tue, Oct 28, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Telecom industry looks set to get five-year tax holiday

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

In order to promote high-speed data transmissions, the nation's telecom industry is expected to be granted a tax holiday for five years, a government official said yesterday.

"The Executive Yuan has given its go-ahead to the policy which will allow the nation's five third-generation [3G] service providers to enjoy a five-year tax break," Vice Minister of Finance Gordon Chen (陳樹) told the legislature.

The 3G services are designed for high-speed data transmissions that enable video, photographs and music to be sent through mobile phones.

The 3G networks are more efficient and cheaper to operate than conventional cellphone networks, but the introduction of the new technology has been delayed due to delays in handset deliveries and restricted budgets, according to industry experts.

The government expects to help facilitate the 3G development here by offering the tax-break policy, which is pending legislative approval, Chen said.

The nation's five 3G service providers have planned to invest NT$104.5 billion in setting up 3G networks before 2005, creating 2,822 job opportunities, Hsieh Fa-dah (謝發達), vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Asia Pacific Broad-band Wireless Communications Inc (亞太行動寬頻) launched its 3G service in late July, making it the nation's first 3G operator.

The tax-break policy, if implemented, may cost government coffers between NT$5 billion and NT$18 billion in five-year tax losses, Chen said, citing the finance ministry's estimate.

But according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the tax loss is expected to fall between NT$1.07 billion and NT$1.33 billion for the period.

It is this huge discrepancy of tax losses between estimates made by the two ministries that raised legislators' eyebrows yesterday.

During the committee, both ruling and opposition lawmakers reached a consensus, urging the government to iron out differences and present the legislature with an accurate estimate of tax loss before the legislative review can proceed.

This story has been viewed 3767 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top