Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) is to pay up to NT$5 billion (US$169.3 million) to acquire an 11.58 percent stake in Asia Pacific Telecom (APT,亞太電信), it said in an unexpected announcement late on Friday.
The deal is the first part of Far EasTone’s broader plan to deepen partnerships and trim heavy 5G deployment costs through spectrum sharing, it said.
It is Far EasTone’s second equity investment after its 2003 acquisition of KG Telecommunications.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
It also marks the nation’s first 5G spectrum sharing deal after the National Communications Commission allowed sharing, which is initially limited to the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band.
Far EasTone plans to subscribe to 500 million new shares issued by APT, which is 40 percent owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry, it said.
Hon Hai’s APT stake is to fall to about 36 percent after the transaction.
The spectrum-sharing deal would “help Far EasTone gain better spectral efficiency and reduce network deployment costs, allowing more leeway for the company to develop 5G-enabled applications,” Far EasTone president Chee Ching (井琪) said in a statement.
During government auctions in February, Far EasTone spent NT$43.04 billion on securing 5G spectrum on the 3.5GHz and 28GHz frequency bands.
The deal would give APT much-needed access to the 3.5GHz frequency band for 20 years, allowing it to catch up with rivals in launching its 5G services by the end of the year.
APT is the only telecom carrier that has not yet offered 5G services.
APT also agreed to pay NT$9.47 billion to use the spectrum and share about 22 percent of the network deployment costs, a joint statement said.
The 3.5GHz frequency band is considered to be a prime 5G bandwidth, suitable for smart cities and factories.
APT only secured 400 megahertz in the 28GHz spectrum for NT$412 million, but telecom equipment supporting the 28GHz spectrum is not yet ready for commercial use.
The Far EasTone-APT deal is still subject to commission approval.
In the second part of its investment scheme, Far EasTone is to further boost its stake in APT to about 23.8 percent by the end of June 2022 through a share-swap deal in which Hon Hai would obtain about a 2.45 percent stake in Far EasTone, the statement said.
The deal would give Far EasTone two seats on APT’s board of directors.
Far EasTone’s announcement caught industry analysts off guard, as APT had been in talks with Taiwan Mobile about a deal to build and share 5G networks, and extend their 4G spectrum-leasing partnership.
APT is using Taiwan Mobile’s spectrum to deliver 4G roaming services in rural areas. Taiwan Mobile holds a 2.55 percent stake in APT.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi