Minister Without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) said yesterday that the government would weigh the advantages and disadvantages of developing fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications technology with China, adding that the government does not have any preset position on the matter.
“This would present a great opportunity,” Chang said. “On the positive side, China has a big market. The cooperation would also make it easier for us to join some international organizations. The negative side would be the issues of national security and intellectual property rights. We will have to consider both sides as we do not have a preset stance.”
Chang made the statement at the inauguration ceremony of the Institute of Watch Internet Network (IWIN), an agency dedicated to protecting children and teenagers from being exposed to harmful online content.
The former Google Asia-Pacific Infrastructure chief operating officer also indicated that the nation is ready to hold a strategy meeting for a 5G service at the end of this year.
He said the nation has no intention to match South Korea in terms of the government funding in the development of 5G technology.
“Given that the government is operating on a tight budget, we will not increase the funding [for the development of 5G technology]. However, we could have some flexibility in the way we appropriate the budget,” Chang said.
He said the Ministry of Economic Affairs had budgeted between NT$500 million and NT$600 million (US$16.7 million to US$20 million) for research into handheld devices, which is related to the development of 5G technology.
In terms of the research and development for a 5G telecommunications service, Chang said the government would help combine the efforts of industry and academia.
“It will take another five to 10 years to develop 5G. All the top-notch research personnel in the industry are tied up at the moment solving some urgent issues. It therefore becomes important for people in academia to delve into the research first,” he said.
National Communications Commission Chairman Howard Shyr (石世豪) said the nation aims to be able to provide a 5G service by 2020, which shows that the nation is actively responding to future changes.
However, he said 5G technology does not have a technical standard at this point, nor does it have a strict definition.
“We are now talking about a vision of a faster communications service more tailored to the needs of consumers,” Shyr said. “Since it is still a vision, it does not have any technical standard or specification. All we are doing now is to trying to see future trends and trying to stay ahead of the game before specifications of the new technology are unveiled.”