Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone pay extra to secure specific 5G frequencies

24 Feb 2020

Taiwanese mobile network operators (MNOs) Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) have spent a combined TWD4.11 billion (USD135.2 million) to secure ‘optimal’ 5G bandwidth, the Taipei Times reports. With the second phase of the country’s 5G spectrum auction having been conducted at the end of last week, domestic operators bid to secure frequencies in optimal parts of the 3.5GHz band, after they had failed to reach an agreement on the positioning of spectrum that had been won last month.

For its part, Chunghwa Telecom – which emerged as the biggest spender in the first round, paying TWD45.675 billion for 90MHz in the 3.5GHz band and TWD618 million for 600MHz in the 28GHz band – offered TWD2.08 billion for the 3.42GHz-3.51GHz block; this has been suggested to be the optimal block as there should be no second-harmonic frequency interference from existing 4G networks. On the back of the development, chairman Hsieh Chi-mau confirmed the MNO’s 5G launch timeline, saying: ‘Despite a higher-than-expected cost, our plan for 5G deployment remains unchanged. We aim to launch 5G service in July, based on which our customers will be able to watch the Tokyo Olympics in 4K and VR.’

Meanwhile, FET spent TW2.03 billion to secure a block of spectrum at 3.34GHz-3.42GHz; it had previously won 80MHz in the 3.5GHz band with a TWD40.600 billion bid, as well as 400MHz at 28GHz for TWD412 million. It is understood that FET now aims to commercialise 5G in the third quarter of 2020.

With Taiwan Mobile Company and Taiwan Star – the other winning bidders in January’s auction – opting against paying additional monies for their specific spectrum allocations, it was noted that the former will take the 3.51GHz-3.57GHz block and the latter will be assigned the 3.30GHz-3.34GHz block. Taiwan Mobile is now expected to launch its 5G services in Q3 2020, while Taiwan Star is looking to begin offering 5G connectivity ‘as soon as possible’.