NCC defends plans for 3.5GHz spectrum cap in upcoming auction

7 Aug 2019

Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has defended a cap on the amount of bandwidth that operators will be able to acquire in its forthcoming auction of 5G-suitable spectrum. According to the Taipei Times a discussion regarding the upcoming frequency sale was held yesterday (6 August) involving representatives of the country’s telecoms providers, the NCC’s Acting Chairman Chen Yao-hsiang and other NCC commissioners. At this meeting the NCC is reported to have said that its plans for a per-operator cap of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band is designed to ensure fair competition. However, Taiwan Star representative Wang Chun-yi was said to have told the hearing that the bandwidth cap for the 3.5GHz band should be lowered – to between 70MHz and 80MHz – arguing that this would be the only way to guarantee there being four operators in the market. The executive suggested that, even though network and spectrum sharing is encouraged by the NCC, none of the larger providers are likely to consider working with a smaller operator if it has less than 40MHz of 5G-suitable spectrum.

With the Taiwanese authorities expected to offer up a total of 2,790MHz in the auction, across the 1800MHz (20MHz), 3.5GHz (270MHz) and 28GHz (2,500MHz) bands, the meeting also explored a number of other key areas. Among these, Hsiao Ching-teng, the representative for Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET), was said to have expressed an interest in the NCC limiting the funds raised through the auction of the blocks in the 28GHz frequency band to a ‘reasonable’ amount, due to the fact that technology and equipment for this band has yet to mature. Meanwhile, it was also reported that NCC spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung had confirmed the commission had agreed to consider lowering the frequency usage fees to facilitate partnerships between the telecoms and 5G vertical application developers.