Taiwan Mobile Company has revealed that it will spend TWD2.98 billion (USD99.3 million) on acquiring a 14.9% stake in Ambit Microsystems, the subsidiary of Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group which was granted a 4G concession in October 2013. According to Digitimes, alongside this deal Taiwan Mobile will also purchase LTE-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz band (728MHz-733MHz/783MHz-788MHz) for a further TWD3.433 billion. With Taiwan Mobile currently operating its 4G LTE service using its spectrum allocation in the 700MHz band (733MHz-745MHz/788MHz-803MHz), it is understood that the frequency acquisition from Ambit will mean it has additional continuous bandwidth of 5MHz.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Ambit’s current parent company Foxconn in May 2014 moved to purchase a stake in APT for TWD11.6 billion, agreeing to pay TWD20 per share for a total of 582.9 million shares via a private placement, ahead of a planned full merger. However, the plan faces a stumbling block in that the two companies hold a combined 30MHz in the 700MHz and 900MHz bands – exceeding the 25MHz limit set by the National Communication Commission. While it had previously been suggested that another Taiwanese player, Far EasTone, could acquire a 5MHz block of spectrum from Ambit in addition to a frequency swap deal being worked on between the pair, it now appears that Taiwan Mobile’s purchase of the spectrum block could smooth the way for the Ambit/APT merger.