Asia Pacific Telecom (APT), the smallest mobile operator in Taiwan, laid any doubts about its 5G intentions to rest after commencing moves to raise capital to fund spectrum acquisition and infrastructure deployment.
The operator has already secured a TWD7 billion ($224 million) syndicated loan and is in the process of arranging another, Taipei Times reported. APT chairman Lu Fang-ming revealed the moves during its AGM earlier in the week, adding it also plans to issue new shares to cover the 5G rollout.
Lu didn’t specify the expected total cost of the spectrum and network rollout, but noted it will likely look for a 50MHz block in the 3.5GHz band, the newspaper wrote. The regulator set a 100MHz cap for the band.
As the smallest of five operators in the country and with a weaker financial situation than its rivals, APT’s participation in a 5G spectrum auction planned for December was far from certain.
It also faced potential opposition from market leaders: with just 270MHz available in the 3.5GHz band, Far EasTone Telecommunications recently urged the regulator to allow only the three major players (Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone) to bid for the spectrum to avoid a bidding war and ensure a sufficient allocation, Taipei Times said.
Industry analysts recommend an operator hold at least 100MHz of contiguous spectrum in the mid- and high-band frequencies to optimise network performance.
APT narrowed its losses to TWD3.29 billion ($106 million) in 2018 from TWD4.07 billion in 2017. Its 2 million subscribers gave it 7 per cent market share at end-March.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back