Fitch Ratings backed a 5G spectrum access deal between Asia-Pacific Telecom (APT) and Far EasTone to be positive for the former, highlighting it will pay only a slight premium over the cost per MHz of the original auction.

APT agreed to pay TWD9.5 billion ($324.2 million) to access an 18MHz slice of the 80MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum Far EasTone secured in an auction in January.

Fitch Solutions noted this means a cost per MHz of TWD526 million compared with the TWD508 million outlay by Far EasTone.

Although APT will cover Far EasTone’s deployment costs for the portion of 5G spectrum involved, the research and analytics outfit believes its overall outlay will be reduced by the agreement, while also noting benefits in speed of deployment by accessing its larger rival’s wider footprint.

As part of the deal, announced on 4 September, Far EasTone will acquire an 11.58 per cent stake in APT for TWD5 billion, with plans to up its holding to 23.8 per cent by June 2022 through a share swap agreement with Foxconn, currently APT’s largest shareholder.

Foxconn, in turn, will gain a 2.45 per cent holding in Far EasTone.