Chunghwa Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Taiwan, is the first operator to join the Taiwan 5G Alliance, with more than 40 technology companies; research institutes and government agencies, as the government pushes for the launch of a pre-commercial 5G network in 2020.

In a statement, Chunghwa Telecom said it will start with a pre-commercial 5G network in parts of Taipei City, which will be a testbed for the pilot team to conduct functional and interoperability tests, and to develop new applications and services on the network. Test networks with ten telecoms towers will be set up to cover the Taipei International Convention Centre and the Taipei Music Centre. It also is planning 5G pilots in southern Taiwan.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the National Communication Commission, the Industrial Technology Research Institute and the Institute for Information Industry are co-founders of the Taiwan 5G Alliance. Other members include MediaTek and Asustek Computer, which are part of the Taiwan Association of Information and Communication Standards.

Other operators are expected to be invited by the government to join the alliance to accelerate 5G development in Taiwan, with Far EasTone Telecommunications and Asia Pacific Telecom (owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry) reportedly tipped to launch their own 5G pilots.

Yu Cheng, chairman and CEO of Chunghwa Telecom, said: “As a leading telecommunication service provider in Taiwan, we have committed ourselves to assisting Taiwan’s public and private sectors to upgrade, transform and combine diversified ICT capabilities while accelerating the innovative momentum of software and content in Taiwan. We will establish Taiwan as an important player in the global 5G value chain.”

Taiwan announced in March 2016 it would allocate TWD600 million ($20.5 million) a year for 5G R&D over four years, with the funding going to existing research organisations.