The government would allow telecoms to shut down 3G systems by 2024 if consumers’ rights are protected and the penetration rate for the nation’s voice over long-term evolution (VoLTE) system is high, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said on Wednesday.
The matter was raised when NCC officials met with executives of the nation’s five major telecoms on Tuesday afternoon to discuss 5G-related issues.
Telecoms could shut down 3G systems by 2024 if the nation’s VoLTE service has a high adoption rate and telecoms ensure that consumer rights are fully protected, NCC Deputy Chairman and spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.
Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times
“The policy would help reduce maintenance costs of the telecom infrastructure. The spectrum used to build the 3G system could also be used to build the 5G system,” Wong said.
The requirement for telecoms to accommodate 3G, 4G and 5G systems takes up too much space in their facilities and consumes a tremendous amount of electricity, Wong said, adding that the new policy would curb carbon emissions, use the frequency spectrum more efficiently, and reduce telecoms’ maintenance and operating costs.
Telecoms should not encounter many technical difficulties in shutting down 3G systems as they experienced the termination of 2G systems, Wong said.
Telecoms, which are to set their own timetable for the shutdown, can terminate their 3G before 2024 if they satisfy the two requirements, he added.
Asked about the 5G strategic partnership between Far EasTone Telecommunications Co and Asia Pacific Telecom Co, Wong said that each acquired part of the 5G spectrum under the Telecommunications Act (電信法).
However, the act was replaced by the Telecommunications Management Act (電信管理法) on July 1, so the companies would need to comply with the new act when applying to have their partnership approved, he added.
The new act gives telecoms greater flexibility in developing new business models, such as allowing them to share frequency bands, Wong said.
“We have not received their applications, but in considering the case, we would need to deliberate multiple aspects of the deal, including proposed changes to shareholding structure and business plans, as well as plans to share frequency bands and build networks together,” Wong said.
In other news, the commission said that it must approve TVBS Media’s appointment of Sheena Liu (劉文硯) as company president before the management change can be finalized.
The company made the announcement on Tuesday in compliance with conditions set by the commission in July, when it approved the company board’s appointment of VIA Technologies chairman Chen Wen-chi (陳文琦) as chairman.
Chen must not serve as TVBS chairman and president, the commission had said, adding that within a month of when its ruling was mailed, the company needed to recruit another person to serve as president.
To ensure that the newsroom is independent, Liu must join Chen and the broadcast news department managers in signing an ethical guidelines declaration within one week of her appointment.
Someone who is not a shareholder, but who has journalism experience must also be selected to serve on the board within six months of the ruling.
The commission said that it must receive the company’s application for a management change by Monday next week.
A special task force would first review the application to determine if Liu is qualified and if it fails to make a final decision, the task force would turn the case over to the commissioners, the commission added.
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