An application by Taiwanese multi-service operator Far EasTone Telecommunication to return its 1800MHz 2G concession has been approved by the National Communications Commission (NCC), the Taipei Times reports. This licence return is, however, understood to be a strategic move designed to expand Far EasTone’s bandwidth for 4G telecom services in the aforementioned spectrum band. To that end, with NCC spokesman Yu Hsiao-cheng cited as confirming that the operator had applied to return a total of 17.5MHz in the 1800MHz band, he noted that the regulator will reassign 8.7MHz of that back to Far EasTone for 4G use. Meanwhile, the remaining spectrum will be reassigned to two cellcos offering 2G services via adjacent frequencies in that same band, with Taiwan Mobile Company and Chunghwa Telecom to receive 6.3MHz and 2.5MHz, respectively. Further, 3.746 million telephone numbers previously appropriated to Far EasTone for the use of the 2G service are to be transferred to the 4G service. On the back of the spectrum refarming, Far EasTone will reportedly hold a total of 13.8MHz in the 1800MHz band, while by comparison Chunghwa Telecom would have 17.5MHz and Taiwan Mobile is 11.3MHz.
According to statistics from the NCC, there are still around 2.15 million 2G subscribers in the country across all mobile service providers, with the bulk of those – around 1.3 million – attributed to Chunghwa Telecom. For its part, Far EasTone reportedly still has around 401,000 2G subscribers, but is has been claimed that these will not be required to change their handsets or their contracts with the cellco as a result of this latest development.