With Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile all now offering 4G commercially, Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has approved their plans to offer subscribers the option of upgrading to the new services with their existing cellular number. As noted in yesterday’s CommsUpdate, with Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile both having inaugurated their networks earlier this week, existing mobile subscribers were facing the prospect of being unable to upgrade as the regulator had yet to finalise regulations governing the process. Now, however, it has been confirmed that those customers seeking to switch to a 4G service with an alternative provider will be able to do so from the start of next week. Meanwhile, those subscribers wishing to upgrade with their existing provider will have to wait until 11 June. As per the ruling from the NCC, the upgrade process must not take more than one business day, while operators have revealed that they will ensure extra staff are available at all service locations in anticipation of the demand for the higher-speed mobile broadband services.
With the nation’s first 4G launches now out of the way, it has also been revealed that the NCC has approved 4G charter licences for the Taiwan Star Cellular Group, a new player backed by the Ting Hsin International Group. According to the China Post, while the licences mean it can now launch commercially when it wants to, the new player is not expected to enter the market until the third quarter of 2014, as originally planned. Meanwhile, the NCC has also noted that Taiwan Star’s bid to acquire Vibo Telecom has yet to be approved, with its assessment pending according to the terms of the Telecommunications Act; a swap of shares between Taiwan Star and Vibo is, however, expected to take place on 15 June to pave the way for the acquisition deal.
4G charter licensing applications by both Ambit Microsystems, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (Foxconn), and Asia Pacific Telecom remain pending, the NCC has said.