APT and Taiwan Mobile fined over roaming alliance

17 Feb 2015

Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) and Taiwan Mobile have each been fined TWD300,000 (USD9,548) by the National Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to report their 4G roaming alliance to the regulator as required by administrative policy, the Taipei Times reports. In handing out the penalty, the NCC said it had found that the two operators had signed a roaming partnership agreement on 25 September 2014, though it noted that this did not include any financial terms, with a supplementary agreement inked on 12 December agreeing the costs of the partnership. With APT said to have then submitted details of the agreement to the authorities on 17 December, NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng argued that the telco should, in fact, have made the regulator aware of the deal within a month of the signing of the initial agreement in September. For its part, APT has argued that it fulfilled its legal requirement, as the complete agreement was not reached until mid-December. Commenting on the matter, Yu said: ‘It is customary in the industry for two telecoms to forge a roaming partnership without settling on an exact cost first … It was decided that such agreement should be reported within one month after it is first signed; on 25 September in this case. Each carrier was fined TWD300,000 for violating the Regulations Governing Mobile Telecommunications Businesses.’

Further punishment may yet be forthcoming, however, with Yu cited as saying that the NCC is now planning to address other alleged violations of the nation’s telecoms regulations by APT. Such violations are said to include the operator’s failure to construct as many base stations as it had promised in its business plan; according to the regulator’s spokesperson, APT had said it would build some 2,000 base stations nationwide to offer 4G services, a target it has been claimed it has not achieved. Meanwhile, it has also been suggested that another area of examination relates to the fact that APT had allegedly made a unilateral decision to change from utilising voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology to offer voice services over its network, with it instead having opted to use circuit-switched fallback. Failure to fulfill the commitments it had made in its business plan could lead to fines of anything between TWD300,000 and TWD3 million, the NCC has said.