NCC to hold hearing on Juiker app over licensing

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Oct 24, 2015 - Page 3

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it would soon host a public hearing to resolve the controversies surrounding text-messaging application Juiker, which was developed by the government-affiliated agency, as it was suspected of offering Type II telecommunication without first applying for a license.

Type II telecom businesses refer to telecoms offering services via networks constructed by Type I telecom businesses, such as Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EastTone Telecommunications.

Juiker was jointly developed by the government-affiliated Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and LofTech Corp as part of the government’s efforts to prevent leaks of confidential government information via the use of the popular text-messaging applications, such as Line or WeChat. The app allows government employees to text, send emoticons, make calls over the Internet and call cellphone or landline telephone numbers at cheaper rates.

However, the app’s developers have been accused of offering a Type II service without a license, as people can make calls to the mobile phones or landlines using Juiker, just as they do with Microsoft’s Skype. However, Skype was required to apply for a Type II telecom business license.

NCC commissioners did not issue any ruling yesterday, saying the commission would hear opinions from the public through a public hearing.

According to the commission, Juiker’s developers said that they only charged customers data processing fees, without using the mobile telecommunication networks constructed by telecom carriers.

NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the commission decided to host the public hearing because new apps would blur the distinction between data transmitted over the Internet and over mobile networks.