Far EasTone to swap 700MHz spectrum block with Ambit

10 Jun 2014

Taiwanese multi-service operator Far EasTone has said it is open to collaborating with other carriers, having outlined plans to improve its 4G network coverage via a bandwidth swap with new player Ambit Microsystems. According to the China Post, Far EasTone will initiate a trade with Ambit under which it will swap its A2 frequency block in the 700MHz band for the A3 block in the same band held by Ambit. Once complete, this would mean that both operators would benefit from operating adjoining blocks of the 4G network. With the deal between the two companies also said to include Far EasTone acquiring 5MHz of bandwidth from Ambit in addition to the frequency swap, it has been suggested that this will resolve regulatory issues related to the latter’s acquisition of Asia Pacific Telecom (APT).

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group revealed it would spend TWD11.6 billion (USD390 million) on acquiring a stake in APT. Foxconn, which is registered on the Taiwanese stock market under the name Hon Hai Precision Industry, will pay TWD20 a share for a total of 582.9 million shares via a private placement. Following this, both APT and Foxconn unit Ambit are then expected to merge fully via a share swap, pending agreement on terms, by 20 June 2014. However, with the two companies holding a combined 30MHz in frequency blocks at the 700MHz and 900MHz bands, this exceeded the 25MHz limit set by the National Communication Commission’s limit. As such, the sale of spectrum to Far EasTone is expected to help ensure regulatory approval for the Foxconn/APT deal.

Meanwhile, the report also suggests that negotiations between Far EasTone and Taiwan Star Cellular Group regarding the joint development of services using the 1,800MHz band have been completed.