Taiwan’s LTE network operators will be permitted to share core networks providing they first change their business plans and gain official approval, local telecoms regulator the National Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed.
According to the Taipei Times, the issue was discussed as part of an ongoing examination into disputes which stemmed from the 4G roaming pact struck between Taiwan Mobile and Asia Pacific Telecom (APT). As previously reported by CommsUpdate, these disputes emerged after the duo were found to be sharing Taiwan Mobile’s core network instead of building their own infrastructure and using the roaming agreement to ensure continuous communication in out-of-service areas. Such a setup was criticised by the likes of Taiwan Star, Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications, all of which jointly urged the NCC to prohibit what they claimed was an illegal practice.
On the back of the latest discussions regarding roaming and network sharing matters, NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng noted that the outcome of the talks had helped set the principles for how the regulator would handle similar cases in the future. Meanwhile, Yu highlighted the fact that, while the NCC will allow the shared use of a core network, this does not mean carriers can simply use the infrastructure belonging to another without building out their own network. As such, the NCC spokesperson confirmed that in order to gain approval for core network sharing, companies will be required to meet a number of criteria, for example the construction of at least 1,000 base stations and the establishment of a coverage area of more than 50% of the population. Yu added: ‘[Companies] must also demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity to handle the increase in communication volume caused by sharing the network with other carriers and that the service quality would not be compromised.’