All bidders get OK to compete for 4G contract
By Ted Chen, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Following preliminary interviews and assessment, regulators yesterday granted approval for all seven bidders vying for an operating license in the upcoming fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband network, with the bidding phase set to commence in September.
August 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The National Communication Commission's (NCC, 國家通訊傳播委員會) found that the seven companies met prerequisites in several areas, including capability in infrastructure provision, financial soundness, technical competency, organizational structure, shareholding status, and long-term development plans, with each prospect receiving a score higher than the required 76.
In addition to industry heavyweights Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile (台灣大), Far EasTone (遠傳) and Asia Pacific (亞太), three new non-telecoms new entrants, Ambit Microsystems Corp.; an arm of the Hon Hai Group, and affiliates backed by the Ting Hsin International Group (頂新集團); and the ShinKong Group (新光集團) will be participating in the September bid.
Monday's regulator review was attended by leading executives of the seven companies. Executives remarked that they were tested throughout the review process, answering many complex and difficult questions, while declining to comment further to the press.
With the exception of Terry Gou, who indicated that he does not intend to establish network infrastructure by acquiring other companies and its assets. Gou stated that Taiwan's 4G market represents the ideal proving grounds for the company's telecoms ambition before contesting for the international markets.
Gou said he intends to compete by utilizing cutting-edge technologies and equipment. In addition, he also urged the government to foster an environment to enable competition among industry players on equal ground, while describing the challenges the company is facing in the 4G pursuit as an infant competing in a hundred-meter dash against a teenager.
The NCC yesterday said that it will not favor any company over another, adding that the regulator's role in this endeavor is to facilitate all prospects in establishing the new network. The NCC also indicated an upbeat outlook on 4G's establishment, saying that all seven companies are of considerable scale, and are afforded with the resources to acquire all internationally certified infrastructure equipment.
With all seven prospects cleared to face off in September, total bids are poised to exceed NT$50 billion, while releasing the right to operate the 135 megahertz of network bandwidth from 12 sections of the 700-, 900- and 1,800-megahertz network bands.
A trial bid will be conducted on Aug. 26, with official bidding to commence on Sept. 3, with the process expected to conclude by the end of this year.