Taiwan-based operators Far EasTone and Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) revealed plans to swap spectrum, as the two prepare to merge their operations to create a company with more than 9 million mobile connections.

In a stock market filling, Far EasTone said it will trade 25MHz of 2600MHz spectrum for a 10MHz block in the 700MHz band held by ATP.

Far EasTone will pay APT TWD300 million ($10.2 million) to make up the difference between the fair market value of its spectrum, calculated at TWD1.4 billion, and APT’s airwaves valued at TWD1.7 billion.

In February 2022, the two companies agreed to merge in a stock-swap deal, which they expect to close in September after securing approval by the National Communications Commission and the Fair Trade Commission. Far EasTone earlier acquired an 11.6 per cent stake in APT through a private placement.

Data from GSMA Intelligence showed Far EasTone closed March with 7.1 million connections, while APT had 2.1 million.

The two operators in September 2020 agreed to share spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, which Far EasTone acquired in an auction in January. It introduced commercial 5G service using the band in July 2020.

Rivals Taiwan Mobile and Taiwan Star Telecom agreed at the beginning of 2022 to merge their operations, which will create the country’s second-largest operator with 9.8 million subscribers.

Market leader Chunghwa Telecom ended Q1 with 10.4 million connections.