Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has unveiled plans for new legislation that would enhance its power to determine what entities are designated as holding significant market powers (SMP), the Taipei Times reports. With the proposed regulations also expected to enable companies to utilise spectrum in a more flexible fashion, a draft telecoms service management act is said to have been introduced at the NCC’s final weekly meeting for 2016, along with a draft digital communications act. With the former intended to replace the existing Telecommunications Act, the latter is understood to address issues related to internet use. Commenting on the Commission’s proposals, Planning Department Director Wang De-wei was cited as saying: ‘The new rules would allow the [NCC] to look at the type of service an operator offers and determine the market to which it belongs … After identifying the market, the Commission would determine whether there are SMPs in it that might affect competition. Those players would be subject to specific regulations and required to fulfil certain legal obligations.’
Meanwhile, although existing regulations stipulate that operators must obtain a licence before they can use designated frequencies to offer services, should the proposed legislation be implemented companies will instead be able to apply to use spectrum without first having to secure a concession. It is understood that companies will be required to submit plans regarding how they plan to use the frequencies and have these approved by the NCC, with firms only needing to register with the regulator as a telecommunications service operator to access full rights to use an assigned frequency. NCC Chairwoman Nicole Chan noted that service operators are exempt from registering with the Commission if their services do not involve the use of frequencies or the appropriation of telephone numbers, while NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung added that as per the proposed regulation operators would be able to build telecoms networks with frequencies they own and lease them to other service providers, provided such a move was approved by the NCC .
In separate but related news, the Taipei Times also reports that the NCC is urging the nation’s 2G subscribers to ensure that they have migrated to a 3G/4G service ahead of the expiration of the nation’s GSM licences on 30 June 2017. To draw consumer attention to the matter, the regulator has reportedly produced two new commercials, while the regulator has also noted that operators such as Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone are offering low monthly subscription services to encourage 2G users to switch to 3G or 4G-based offerings. As per a previous announcement, the NCC has said that to ease the impact on 2G subscribers, there will be a six-month grace period after 30 June 2017 allowing such users to migrate to more advance services.