Far EasTone seeks stricter bidding rules for upcoming 4G spectrum auction

15 May 2015

Taiwan’s Far EasTone Telecommunications has reportedly called on the government to tighten bidding rules for the next round of 4G spectrum auctions which are due to be conducted in October 2015 in order to ensure fair competition. Yvonne Li, Far EasTone’s president, was cited by local new source the Taipei Times as saying: ‘We hope the National Communications Commission (NCC) can set strict qualification criteria for bidders … Otherwise, bandwidth, which is rare asset, would be easily acquired and controlled by a few companies. Market competition would thereby be hampered.’ Specifically, the operator is understood to have suggested that the authorities prohibit strategic partners of those companies planning to bid for spectrum from entering separate bids in the sale process.

Such a move is said to be designed to stop Asia Pacific Telecom (APT), Ambit Microsystems and Taiwan Mobile Company from deepening their current partnership in bidding for 2600MHz spectrum, with Li noting: ‘If these three companies join the 4G auction separately, it is no different from rigging the bid. This violates fair trade regulations.’ Taiwan Mobile last year announced a strategic partnership with Ambit via a share swap and bought 5MHz bandwidth from the latter, while Ambit aims to complete a merger with APT by end-2015.

Echoing the sentiment on blocking linked entities from entering separate spectrum bids, Shih Mu-piao, president of multi-service operator Chunghwa Telecom, was cited as saying: ‘Our stance is very firm. These three companies should be banned from bidding for 4G bandwidth individually.’