Far EasTone second company in Taiwan to gain 5G license

TAIPEI (CNA) — Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. received a 5G license Wednesday, becoming the second telecom operator in Taiwan to do so, according to the National Communications Commission (NCC).

After a review of Far EasTone’s efforts to build its 5G network, the regulatory NCC issued a license to the company, one week after Chunghwa Telecom Co. also gained approval, NCC Chief Secretary Hsiao Chi-hong (蕭祈宏) said.

Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom are among the five major telecom service providers in Taiwan that bid about NT$138 billion (US$4.6 billion) in total in a 5G spectrum auction, which ended in January.

Having secured their licenses, Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom are expected to launch their 5G services this summer.

Among the other three companies — Taiwan Star Telecom Corp., Asia Pacific Telecom Co. and Taiwan Mobile Co. — the latter is likely to receive its 5G license soon, as its 5G network development is currently under review, the NCC said.

Meanwhile, Far EasTone said Wednesday that it has already built more than 1,000 base stations, far exceeding the NCC’s minimum requirement of 250 for companies to offer the service, and it is aiming to increase the number to 3,000 by the end of the year.

In the spectrum auction, Far EasTone secured 80MHz of the 3.5GHz band for NT$40.6 billion and 400MHz in the 28GHz band for NT$412 million, while Chunghwa Telecom spent NT$45.7 billion for 90MHz in the 3.5GHz band and NT$618 million for 600MHz in the 28GHz band.

Chunghwa Telecom said Wednesday it will invest another NT$27 billion over the next three years in 5G equipment.

Chen Ming-shih (陳明仕), president of Chunghwa Telecom’s Mobile Business Group, said the company is aiming to gain 1 million 5G subscribers in the first year of the service, which is scheduled to begin July 1.

With an increasing number of 5G smartphone models coming on stream soon, Chen said, demand for 5G services will increase sharply in the second half of 2021.