Taiwan: Back in the Game with LTE

Taiwan, which had previously made a national commitment to WiMax, is now rolling out national LTE broadband services in the 1800 and 700/900 MHz band, thanks to a recent auction, and is now issuing licenses.

Foxconn which won a 4G license in Taiwan’s recent spectrum auction, though its Ambit Microsystems subsidiary, is now buying a $390 million stake in Asia Pacific Telecom, a fellow Taiwanese company, reports Reuters. Foxconn will purchase the Asia Pacific stake under its subsidiary company Ambit, the unit responsible for its future LTE deployment.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. It makes Apple’s iPhone, iPad, Amazon’s Kindles and video game platforms like the Playstation and Xbox.

The National Communications Commission says 4G spectrum in the 700MHz, 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands was secured by six carriers; Ambit Microsystems (on behalf of the Foxconn Group), Asia Pacific Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, FarEasTone, Taiwan Mobile, and Taiwan Star Cellular.

As of June 2011, the penetration rate in Taiwan was estimated at 105.354% over a population estimate of around 23 million. Taiwan’s top three mobile operators are Chunghwa Telecom (10 million subs), FarEasTone (7 million subs), and Taiwan Mobile (6.8 million subs).

The 12 frequency bands for 4G mobile services, brought in NT$118.65 billion (US$4.02 billion), some 223.5% in excess of the total floor price, according to the NCC.

Asia Pacific Telecom acquired 20 MHz in the 700Mhz band while Ambit Microsystems acquired 20 MHz in both the 700 and 900Mhz bands. Foxconn, presumably, will now merge or consolidate their APC and Ambit 4G spectrum holdings.

In 2013, Taiwan had some 23 million 3G subscribers, making up over 75% of the total mobile subscriber base. LTE licences in the 1800 and 700/900 MHz band may now deliver truly mobile broadband to Taiwan.

Taiwan got burned by WiMax (and Intel), making a large government commitment to the technology, which was subsequently abandoned by most mobile carriers for LTE. The M-Taiwan project was a government initiative to accelerate WiMAX ecosystem development and create a nation-wide broadband infrastructure. It never (really) happened.

Five of Taiwan’s licensed WiMAX operatorsGlobal Mobile, First International Telecom (Fitel), Vmax Telecom, Tatung Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) rolled out WiMAX services in Taiwan, mostly in the 2.6 GHz band.

Related Dailywireless articles include: Taiwan Concludes LTE Auction, Taiwan Awards WiMAX Licenses, Taiwan: WiMAX On the Move with Clear & Moto, WiMAX & LTE: Policy Vs Pragmatism, WiMAX Global War in Japan, Intel in Taiwan: Under The Cloud

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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