Chungwha, Taiwan Mobile call for 2G upgrade subsidy to be continued

31 May 2016

Taiwan’s major mobile network operators have called on the government to continue to provide subsidies to 2G subscribers with a view to facilitating their migration to more advanced services before GSM service licenses expire in June 2017.

According to the Digitimes, statistics published by the country’s National Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that there were still around 710,000 customers on a 2G plan as of April 2016. Of these, the lion’s share – around 460,000 – are subscribed to a plan offered by Chunghwa Telecom, while Taiwan Mobile has about 180,000 GSM-based users. Both companies will reportedly continue to offer incentives designed to motivate their 2G subscribers to switch to a 3G or 4G service. However, with a subsidy programme – run by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau – which helps 2G subscribers purchase 4G-compatible handsets due to end tomorrow, both aforementioned operators have called for this scheme to continue.

Meanwhile, with 2G services expected to be terminated next year when the licences are due to expire, it is understood that the NCC has proposed that Chunghwa remain as the sole provider of such connectivity, using spectrum it has previously acquired for 4G services. Such plans have been questioned by the Taiwan Telecommunication Industry Development Association though, with that body noting that while operators could appropriate a portion of their 4G bandwidth for 2G customers, they would have to use different base stations to offer such services. Further, it has claimed that any company offering 2G service in this fashion could expect more complaints from users if reception fails to reach their expectations, and as such has suggested that the state should allow 2G to be discontinued next year. In addition, the association also said that the NCC should stop certifying new 2G mobile handsets so that more 2G users are motivated to migrate to more advanced services.