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Issue Date:2019/06/19

NCC amends regulations for upcoming 5G auction and relevant regulations中文

  In order to accelerate the process of the release of 5G licenses, as well as relevant regulations, official amendments were made to Regulations for Administration of Mobile Broadband Businesses (Draft) on June 19; NCC shall arrange a preliminary notice in order to solicit public opinions on the Draft as soon as the Executive Yuan publishes “Regulations Governing Operating Items and Scope, the Timetable for Deregulation and the Number of Operators to Be Allowed for Type I Telecommunication Enterprises” (Regulations).

  During its Commission Meeting, NCC commissioners resolved to shorten the preliminary notice period of the Draft from 60 days from the previous period during 4G license release to 45 days. What’s more, NCC will begin receiving business applications in September for a 30-day application period, which has been shortened from the former 45-day one, so as to facilitate the 5G auction in December.

  NCC stated that the purpose of conducting the auction earlier is to catch up with certain other advanced countries, in which the 5G license release and services have run ahead of schedule as 5G development in Taiwan should go hand in hand with other advanced countries in order to enhance national competitiveness, allow businesses to build up 5G networks in a timely manner, and boost industry so that the public can benefit as soon as possible from the services brought by 5G related applications (such as Internet of Things, Internet of Vehicles, etc.).

  NCC added that the auction will offer a total bandwidth of 2790 MHz, where 270 MHz from the 3.5 GHz band and 2500 MHz from the 28 GHz band will be released respectively. 20 MHz from the 1800 MHz band remaining from the previous 4G auction is also scheduled to be licensed. Among them, the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands are most frequently used by many countries to launch 5G services, and the development of base stations and terminal equipment (such as mobile phones and tablets) for these bands is relatively mature.

  NCC also stated the 5G auction will still be conducted through the two-stage bidding process. The first stage to be carried out by a multi-round bidding process (a modified SMRA model) shall determine the number of bandwidths obtained while the second stage focuses on position bidding which determines the actual position of the frequencies won. Moreover, in order to make optimal use of precious frequency resources, NCC has also designed a new bidding round to ensure that the planned frequencies can all be released smoothly.

  To foster fair competition and avoid circumstances where spectrum resources are controlled by minor operators, NCC also stressed that in addition to the rule that forbids the total approved bandwidth kept by a nominated bidder or operator to exceed 1/3 of the total bandwidth of mobile broadband released, the Draft also stipulates the maximum bandwidth each bidder is allowed to obtain in each frequency band: 100 MHz for the 3.5 GHz band and 800 MHz for the 28 GHz band.

  To ensure the nominated bidders actively construct 5G networks, NCC also stated that the Draft stipulates obligations for construction of 5G base stations, requiring the nominated bidders of the 3.5 GHz band to provide reliable signal coverage that reaches at least 50% of the domestic population and build at least 1000 5G base stations, either by constructing new ones or upgrading those originally built for 4G bands.

  As for the nominated bidders of the 28 GHz band, only the number of obligated base stations are required. For each 100 MHz obtained, the operator shall construct 375 5G base stations, reaching up to 3000 based on the maximum bandwidth allowed in this band.

NCC emphasized that cyber security of telecommunications networks has become a more serious issue in recent years. Consequently, in order to ensure operators implement more comprehensive management of cyber security and risk control mechanisms, the Draft also stipulates that the operators should attach cyber security-related documents while applying for 5G operation.

  In addition, since the ITU has not published any technical standards of 5G, the Draft relaxes restrictions on 5G standards that nominated bidders can adopt, including the ones that have been published by 3GPP but have not been confirmed by the ITU.

  NCC stated that due to the immaturity of 5G specifications and business models, coupled with the technical characteristics of the 28 GHz band, the potential licensees will be required to invest even more than 4G to cover the entire domestic region; therefore, in order to incentivize operators’ willingness to bid and construct networks, the end of license period for the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz band will be prolonged to 2040, a span comparatively longer than 4G’s. However, considering the integrity of the license period of the 1800 MHz band whose bandwidths were mostly licensed before, the due year for this band will still be 2030.

  NCC added that the 2790MHz bandwidths released this time shall be an important basis for 5G services. In addition to further improving speeds of the internet, it can also boost the development of relative applications (such as telehealth, home security, mobile payment, online learning, etc.), enabling mobile broadband to become a key factor driving economic growth in Taiwan and facilitating greater convenience for the public.

  Finally, NCC stated that after the Regulations are published, procedures to issue preliminary notices of the Draft on the NCC official website will be activated. During this period, a consultation session will also be held to compile valuable feedback from the industry, governmental bureaus, academies and research institutes. After considering this feedback, NCC will complete the amendment of the Draft as soon as possible, so as to be prepared for the subsequent application and auction procedures.