Members of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday accused the National Communications Commission (NCC) of dragging its feet in pushing the development of 4G wireless technology.
Asked to give a special report on the nation’s policy on 4G technology, commission Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) said rearranging the bandwidth spectrum was the key factor affecting the issuance of operational licenses for 4G services.
She said the commission had planned to reorganize the use of several radio bands, including 700 megahertz (MHz), 900MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,600MHz.
However, those radio bands are all currently in use and it would take time to reassign them, she said, adding that the 700MHz band was being used by the military.
The Ministry of National Defense has agreed to relocate to a different bandwidth after negotiating with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), she said.
Based on the commission’s report, the Executive Yuan plans to launch bids for 4G licenses in 2015 and estimates that the technology could become commercially available in 2017.
The report also showed that telecom carriers worldwide mainly provide advanced wireless service through the Long Term Evolution (LTE) or WiMAX technologies, which are considered by many as quasi-4G services. Of the two, LTE technology currently dominates the market.
Taiwan, on the other hand, adopted WiMAX technology and provides commercial services utilizing the technology.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency responsible for information and communication technologies, has set speed requirements for 4G services at 100 megabytes (MB) per second for high-mobility communication and 1GB per second for low-mobility communication.
At present, no LTE service provider in the world fulfills those requirements. People in the telecom sector refer to the existing LTE technology as “3.9G.”
Nonetheless, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the nation had fallen behind other Asian countries in terms of the development of LTE technology, adding that LTE services have already appeared in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
“Taiwan has no apparent competitiveness in this field and yet the NCC keeps focusing on fining TV programs for being too violent,” Lo said.
In response, Su said the commission has been negotiating with the MOTC and both thought there could be some flexibility in the timeline set by the Executive Yuan.
Su also said that South Korea could quickly develop LTE services because of a well-designed plan from the government and cooperation from the private sector.
“We need to consider 4G from various factors and cannot make leaps,” she said. “We need to take one step at a time.”
When asked which technology the commission would adopt, Su said it would make a decision after the ITU announces the technical requirements for 4G services next year.