Far EasTone Telecommunications Co’s (FET) 5G partnership with Asia Pacific Telecom Co (APT) is a “win-win,” chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) said yesterday, while Taiwan Mobile Co said that the deal is “a match made in heaven.”
The unveiling of the strategic partnership on Friday last week stunned the market, as it was widely believed that APT would form a 5G partnership with Taiwan Mobile.
Taiwan Mobile holds a 2.55 percent stake in APT and APT had leased Taiwan Mobile’s network to deliver 4G services.
Following a meeting of the nation’s five major telecoms with National Communications Commission (NCC) Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥), NCC Deputy Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) and other commissioners on 5G issues yesterday afternoon, Hsu and Taiwan Mobile president Jamie Lin (林之晨) were asked to comment on the partnership between Far EasTone and APT.
“I see this as an ordinary deal. FET and APT have needs, and we should cooperate to meet those needs. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co [APT’s largest shareholder] is also delighted by the partnership, because it produces 5G-related equipment,” Hsu said. “All parties win with this partnership.”
Asked whether Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) has been approached about further cooperation, Hsu refused to comment, saying only that “businesses compete and cooperate, and it is time to cooperate.”
Far EasTone president Chee Ching (井琪) said that APT’s financial situation was reviewed before the partnership was formed.
“The deal will allow APT to use Far EasTone’s network to offer high-quality 5G service. APT has sustained financial losses, but will improve,” Ching added.
The deal’s announcement was a bittersweet moment, but the seed was sown when Far EasTone secured bandwidth in the government’s 5G auction and APT did not, Lin said.
“The FET-APT partnership is a match made in heaven and the partnership will improve APT’s financial situation,” Lin said. “In the short term, we are happy to be a small shareholder. FET can help APT’s business thrive, which in turn will increase the profits we reap.”
Asked about the likelihood of a partnership between Taiwan Mobile and Taiwan Star, Lin said that it is open to cooperation.
It would be a waste of resources for the nation to have five identical 5G networks, Lin added.
The nation’s major carriers have urged the NCC to consider lowering the frequency usage fee, as the companies are spending a considerable amount building 5G networks, said Hsu, who also serves as chairman of the Taiwan Telecommunication Industry Development Association.
Lin said the carriers are hoping that the NCC would set a date for phasing out the 3G system.
Under the deal with Far EasTone, APT would pay NT$9.47 billion (US$320.96 million) for much-needed access to the 3.5 gigahertz frequency band for 20 years, a joint statement said.
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