Subscribers of Asia-Pacific Telecom’s (APT) telecom services would be given at least one-and-a-half years to fully migrate to Far EasTone Telecommunications’ (FET) networks if the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) approve their merger, the telecoms authority yesterday said at its weekly news conference.
The commission yesterday reviewed proposed mergers between FET and APT, and between Taiwan Mobile and Taiwan Star. Far EasTone president Chee Ching (井琪), APT chairman Steven Chen (陳鵬), Taiwan Mobile president Jaime Lin (林之晨) and Taiwan Star president Cliff Lai (賴弦五) were present to answer questions from NCC commissioners.
NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥), who presided over the meeting, ruled that discussions of the two cases would resume after the telecoms provide supplementary information to the commission within one week.
NCC Deputy Chairman and spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that commissioners focused on how the telecoms plan to address issues following the mergers — from the integration of telecom service networks to monthly plans for subscribers and job transition plans for employees of APT and Taiwan Star, which would cease to exist after the mergers.
FET said that it would take at least one-and-a-half years to complete the integration of its telecom service networks with those built by APT, while Taiwan Mobile said it would submit a timeline on the network integration in a written report, Wong said.
Integration of telecom service networks takes time, he said, citing similar cases in the EU, Malaysia and Thailand.
Overall, telecom service subscribers should benefit from the mergers, particularly those of APT and Taiwan Star, he said.
“Currently, APT service subscribers can only access the telecom’s 700MHz and 2,600MHz frequency bands. If APT’s merger with FET is approved, subscribers would also be able to access FET’s 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,600MHz and 3,500MHz bands. With more bandwidth, customers would enjoy better and faster services,” Wong said.
FET and Taiwan Mobile would be held responsible during the transition period if subscribers experience service disruption or other communication issues, NCC Department of Platform and Business deputy director Tsai Kuo-dong (蔡國棟) said.
FET and Taiwan Mobile told the commissioners that they plan to work with mobile virtual network operators to enhance their competitive edge and give consumers more service options, Wong said.
As the two proposed mergers would result in Taiwan Mobile and FET exceeding the legal limits on bandwith ownership, the commission will negotiate with the Ministry of Digital Affairs to resolve the problem, Wong said.
Taiwan Mobile’s proposed merger with Taiwan Star, if approved, would allow the nation’s second-largest telecom to own 60MHz of bandwidth at frequency bands below 1 gigahertz, which would exceed one-third — or 50MHz — of the total auctioned spectrum of 150MHz.
Regulations require telecoms to give any extra bandwidth back to the commission.
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