The operational licenses for fourth-generation (4G) mobile communications are scheduled to be issued next year, the National Communications Commission said over the weekend.
The nation’s telecoms service regulator announced the policy after it was passed by the Executive Yuan last week.
The commission said that the demand for faster data transmission has been increasing rapidly over recent years as smartphones and other mobile communication devices grow in popularity. The new licenses would be distributed following a “technology-neutral” principle, which would allow operators to use licenses for the development of 4G or other advanced mobile technologies in the future, the commission said.
However, the Executive Yuan did not adopt Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ proposal which suggested that each bidding unit be for about 10MHz to 20MHz. It decided each unit would cover only 5MHz.
Based on the Executive Yuan’s plan, the frequency ranges that are to be opened for 4G license bids cover 700MHz, 900MHz and 1,800MHz. Both the upstream bandwidth and downstream bandwidth are 135MHz with each being divided into 27 bidding units. Telecom operators said that it would take at least 15MHz to 20MHz to offer high speed mobile communication services.
The commission said that it would stipulate regulations that cap the number of units for which each telecom operator can bid. The same regulations would also state the number of licenses open for bids as well as the minimum number of units that an operator must obtain to secure a license.
The commission added that interested telecom operators can bid for multiple units based on their operational strategies and service requirements.
In 2002, the government raised about NT$49 billion (US$1.64 billion) in revenue after issuing 3G telecom service licenses. It is estimated 4G license bids could generate twice that amount.