Fri, Jul 19, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Mobile, APT gain approval to forge rural roaming partnership

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The National Communications Commission has granted Taiwan Mobile and Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) permission to forge a roaming service partnership in 86 remote townships nationwide.

The commission said that it granted the approval at its weekly commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, citing President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) promulgation of the Telecommunications Management Act (電信管理法), which introduced the concept of networking sharing.

That commission said that it has stipulated guidelines governing the management of domestic roaming services during the migration from the Telecommunications Act (電信法) to the new legislation.

The two companies were granted permission to jointly provide roaming services in the 86 townships after the commission ascertained that they could compete fairly in the domestic market; that the digital gap between rural and urban areas could be minimized; that the telecoms could recover their costs reasonably and would be motivated to install more telecom infrastructure; and that people residing in remote areas could have access to broadband services, it said.

It is the first domestic roaming service collaboration between 4G telecoms approved by the commission.

APT subscribers would have roaming service on the network built by Taiwan Mobile until the commission approves the companies’ new business plans and inspects their networks, it added.

The approval came with conditions, Planning Department Director Wang De-wei (王德威) said.

Taiwan Mobile would pledge to not give preferential treatment to its subscribers over APT’s customers who are on roaming, Wang said.

Meanwhile, APT would send a text message to its subscribers in the townships after the service is activated to notify them that they might have to use Taiwan Mobile’s network to transmit data, that they might experience data service disconnections due to network switching and that they would not need to apply to use Taiwan Mobile’s network to transmit data, nor pay additional charges, Wang said.

The commission said that it has set different obligations for the two telecoms, as Taiwan Mobile built and owns the network, while APT provides roaming services on Taiwan Mobile’s network.

However, the commission also fined the two firms NT$14.7 million (US$473,019) each for failing to adhere to their business plans.

APT had been found leasing access to Taiwan Mobile’s network without seeking the commission’s approval.

It was also found that both telecoms worked together to provide roaming services in urban and rural areas.

Each telecom has also been fined an additional NT$1.8 million for illegally offering roaming services.

The approval would only allow the two telecoms to offer roaming services in the 86 townships and does not permit them to provide such a service elsewhere, the commission said.

The commission said that it would continue to fine the two telecoms if they are found to be providing roaming services illegally.

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