Monday, April 6, 2015

Far Eastone Returns 2G License

Taiwan’s telecom regulator, the National Communications Commission (NCC) approved the application of Far Eastone (the country’s third-largest mobile operator) to return its 2G service license in the 1,800 MHz band. NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng said the operator applied to return 17.5 MHz of frequency in the band. The NCC can then reassign 8.7 MHz of the returned frequency to Far Eastone to further expand its bandwidth for 4G service in the 1,800 frequency band. The remaining frequency will be assigned to the countries other two 2G carriers, Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom, which would receive 6.3 MHz and 2.5 MHz, respectively. Far Eastone’s move will cause 3.746 million phone numbers on its 2G service to be transferred to 4G service. According to the NCC, Taiwan still has approximately 2.15 million 2G users, with the majority (1.3 million) subscribed to Chunghwa Telecom. The country also has 22.4 million 3G users, and about 4.9 million users have subscribed to 4G service since it was launched in June 2014. Taiwan regulations require operators to return their 2G service licenses in order to activate 4G service using the blocks currently in use. The NCC hopes that Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom will follow suit.

At a March event that was co-organized with the John Tung Foundation, an organization dedicated to the public welfare of the people of Taiwan, Far Eastone President Yvonne Li said that the operator is targeting a 30 percent share of the country’s 4G service market, which is forecast to be 10 million by the end of 2015. Li estimated that her company’s number of 4G subscribers at year end will reach 3 million, which is double the current figure. In Taiwan, midrange and high-end 4G enabled smartphones account for the majority of users’ devices; however, an increase in the adoption of the number of low-end 4G devices will enable the operator to attain this level of market share. The operator is smart to return its 2G spectrum so it can increase its 4G bandwidth as a way to satisfy users’ demands for more 4G service. As a way to attract new customers and perhaps up-sell existing ones with more robust plans that are available with 4G service, Far Eastone will be able to bring in more revenue with these advances in the country’s technology.

The above item appeared in recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues or to speak with the research team:

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