WiMax firm’s investment approved despite large fine

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Dec 06, 2012 - Page 4

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday approved WiMAX operator Vee Time’s investment in VMax Telecom and Tatung Infocomm, adding that Vee Time was fined NT$200,000 for failing to file the details with the administrative authority before carrying out the investment.

Vee Time, VMax and Tatung are all operators of WiMAX services — a fourth-generation (4G) mobile communications technology recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Vee Time and Tatung hold licenses to offer WiMAX services in southern Taiwan, while VMax holds the license for services in the north.

The three firms decided to consolidate their operations after the development of WiMAX in the nation did not go as well as expected.

According to the commission, the investment would mean Vee Time would own about 72 percent of VMax and 100 percent of Tatung. It has been reported that the integration of these three WiMAX service operators would pave the way for them to jointly bid for Long Term Evolution (LTE) licenses — another 4G communications technology — which is used by more countries around the world.

NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said that the commission approved the investment based on the Regulations for Administration of Wireless Broadband Access Business (無線寬頻接取業務管理規則).

However, he said that Vee Time should have filed the details with the commission first and hence it decided to fine the operator NT$200,000.

Despite approval being granted, Yu said that Vee Time must still fulfil its obligations as a WiMAX operator, including maintaining service coverage of 70 percent of the population in its service region.

“We also reminded them [Vee Time] that, according to the Telecommunications Act (電信法), the Ministry of Transportation and Communications may adjust frequencies or request facilities upgrades by enterprises or users. Such adjustments or requests may not be refused, nor may compensation be demanded,” Yu said.

Meanwhile, the commission approved changes to guidelines governing installations of small, low-power cellular base stations, a move that could ease congestion in the 3G network caused by the increasing use of smartphones and other mobile devices.

The commission said that each license would allow operators to build and operate 10 small low-power base stations.

According to the commission, both Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile have submitted applications to build such stations.

The commission also said that telecoms carriers should not charge consumers for accessing wireless services provided by these small base stations.

Electromagnetic waves generated by these small cells are much lower than those from macro-cells, the commission said, adding that consumers need not worry about health risks when they have small cells installed in their houses.