Mon, Jul 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NCC to update rules to cover new technology

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

In a bid to keep up with rapidly changing technology, the National Communications Commission (NCC) is working to update rules governing businesses and services.

The commission said the Administrative Rules on Type II Telecommunications Business (第二類電信事業管理規則) are outdated and cannot meet the challenges posed by new services such as Juiker or Vehicle-to-X communication (V2X).

The decision was made at a recent commission meeting, where the commissioners agreed to hold another public hearing on the voice-over-the-Internet service offered by mobile application Juiker.

The app was jointly developed by the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and LofTech Corp as part of the government’s efforts to prevent leaks of confidential information via popular apps such as Line or WeChat.

Its functions include texting, making calls over the Internet and calling cellphone or landline telephone numbers at cheaper rates.

However, Juiker’s developers have been accused of offering a Type II service without a license because users can make calls to mobile phones or landlines like with Microsoft’s Skype, which was required to apply for a Type II telecom business license.

Type II businesses are telecoms that offer services via networks constructed by Type I businesses such as Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone Telecommunications.

The commission last week ruled that V2X communication service provider Kingway Technology should secure a Type II license if it offers such services via a 4G service network.

Commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said that the rules were introduced in 1999 and have been amended three times since 2003.

The nation has seen a rapid development of the mobile communication service during this period of time, so the commission needs to consider several things in making new revisions, he said.

“Many people have expressed hope that the government would not restrict the development [of value-added mobile apps] by imposing stricter laws. On the other hand, governments around the world are also aware that these innovative services affect the revenue of the existing telecom companies,” he said.

“If these operators cannot survive the competition from emerging communication services, this would affect their interest in making further investments in network infrastructure,” he said.

The V2X service proposed by Kingway would allow users to access its self-developed software through telecoms’ SIM cards, meaning users would have to buy the company’s software and SIM cards if they want to download the latest traffic report from the Internet.

According to the commission’s rulings, that makes Kingway a mobile virtual network operator, so it needs to have a Type II license, he said.

The administrative rules also need to be rewritten to redefine the types of services listed, since they currently reflect what was on offer when voice communication was the predominant service.

“The current rules require that mobile virtual network operators offer voice services, but the company only plans to provide data transmission service, with no plans to branch out into voice communication. The rules are clearly outdated and do not reflect the ‘status quo,’” he said.

The commission also ruled that it would not strictly regulate telecom services as long as the services offered do not involve the redistribution of the frequencies or assignment of telephone numbers.

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