NCC says 4G bid could be reached soon

DOMINO EFFECT::The NCC said latest bid prices hit NT$104.76 billion, reinforcing fears over the ramifications of telecoms spending huge sums

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - Page 3

With legislators showing concern about the skyrocketing bid prices for the nation’s fourth-generation (4G) spectrum telecom licenses, National Communications Commission Chairman Howard Shyr (石世豪) yesterday said he believed the closing bid would be reached soon.

As total bid prices soared to NT$100.71 billion (US$3.424 billion) in the latest bidding on Friday last week, many people have voiced concern that telecoms will end up spending too much on the licenses.

This in turn would mean the cost would be passed on to consumers, or that it would result in cutting infrastructure and operation costs.

At the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said the ongoing auction may result in a “cursed winner” because the winner may have to use flawed equipment made with inferior materials to make up for overpriced licenses.

This could lead to information security problems, or in a worst-case scenario, even result in the telecom going bankrupt.

The committee passed a conclusion last week that the infrastructure equipment used for 4G spectrum telecommunications cannot be made in China to avoid poor quality.

“Any company can win the bid for a frequency band based on its financial ability, but we will not elect a company for the sake of any outcome. Security cannot be sacrificed, no matter how much they paid to get their license,” Shyr said.

The commission will be responsible for monitoring the service quality and security of information provided by the bid winner, he said.

“The service quality they provide to the consumers cannot be degraded either,” he said.

Shyr added that it is a good sign that the companies are beginning to bid for other bandwidths, and that he believes the bids will be finalized soon.

Commission statistics were released for the latest bidding round as of 4pm yesterday, with total bid prices reaching NT$104.755 billion: NT$28.295 billion for the 700MHz spectrum, NT$7.705 billion for the 900MHz spectrum and NT$68.755 billion for the 1800MHz spectrum.

There are six bidders left: Chunghwa Telecom Co, Taiwan Mobile Co, Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET), Asia Pacific Telecom Co, Ambit Microsystems Corp — a unit of Hon Hai Group — and companies backed by Ting Hsin International Group.