The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said the auction of the frequency bands to be used by fourth-generation (4G) service providers are scheduled to begin on Nov. 17, with starting prices set at NT$14.4 billion (US$442 million).
The commission said a block from 2,500MHz to 2,600MHz would be up auction.
The block would be divided into six bands, it added.
The commission said that telecommunication carriers that qualified for bidding are Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile Corp (台灣大哥大), Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), Asia-Pacific Telecom (APT, 亞太電信) and Taiwan Star Telecom Co Ltd (台灣之星).
Each frequency band would be sold to the highest bidder following a simultaneous multiple-round auction, it said.
This is to be the first time that such an auction has been conducted using an electronic bidding system which means people can place bids from their office, the commission said.
The commission has held simulated bidding four times in the past, it said.
The commission said that telecom carriers can acquire the bandwidths needed based on the business models they intend to pursue on a flexible basis.
However, the commission is to cap the maximum bandwidth that a carrier can buy in the auction at 70MHz to ensure fair market competition.
The commission said that it has approved the merger of APT and Ambit Microsystems Corp (國碁電子), as well as Taiwan Mobile’s investment in Ambit.
The commission rejected the application for a merger earlier this year because APT did not elaborate on details of its strategic partnership with Taiwan Mobile in its business plan.
The commission also rejected an application last month, as APT failed to provide information on investment from Taiwan Mobile, which would indirectly own 3.45 percent of APT shares through its investment in Ambit.
Commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the new company created from the merger of APT and Ambit must submit a new business plan to the commission for approval.
The new company must account for its plan to lease network from Taiwan Mobile during the initial stages of operation, Yu said.
Taiwan Mobile must also account for its plan to allow the new company to share network while the business plan must be approved by the commission, Yu said.
Yu said that both APT and Taiwan Mobile have been fined for failing to notify the commission in advance of changes to business plans, and have been asked to address the situation within a set time frame.
The commission has the power to continue fining the operators even after the merger is approved if the two fail to address the matter by the deadline, Yu said.
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