Tue, Apr 30, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Selling off the nation’s 4G future

By Hochen Tan 賀陳旦

When there are tens of thousands of base stations out there, the 250 base station requirement is nothing short of a joke, and open to abuse. For example, with the aforementioned deregulation of the transfer of user rights, together with the fact that new owners of the rights have four years in which to set themselves up, there is nothing to prevent a new generation of “mini-networks” from cropping up, allowing the frequency rights that operators hold to lie fallow until such a time as firms can make a profit by selling them on.

This situation is not so far removed from the “Taipei Beautiful” urban renewal project, under which landowners stood to receive all kinds of benefits for planting a bit of greenery here and there, reaping rewards worth many times their initial outlay.

What kind of policies are these?

Many countries view contracting out the 4G spectrum as a major opportunity for kick-starting their economies and supporting rural areas.

However, the commission’s proposed regulations are self-limiting and run counter to current global policymaking trends and are aimed at driving up bids in one big auction-fest.

This kind of money-minded, short-sighted policy and procrastination is bad for Taiwan, and another missed opportunity.

It is not just that the nation has fallen behind in online crime detection and prevention during the Internet age, or that 4G will only further widen the north/ south divide.

This is a real opportunity and historic moment for the nation, and I urge the authorities to reconsider their approach.

Hochen Tan is a former chairman of Chunghwa Telecom and is chairman of the Taiwan Ecological Engineering Development Foundation.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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