A 4G price war in Taiwan could impair mobile operators’ ability to invest in and develop new services, including 5G networks and applications, needed to sustain the long-term development of the telecoms industry.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) issued the warning after market leader Chunghwa Telecom introduced low-cost, unlimited 4G data and voice plans, Taipei Times reported. Rivals Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone Telecommunications and Asia Pacific Telecom quickly followed.
Taipai Times cited NCC representative Wong Po-tsung as saying while the commission respects the free market system, “if telcos simply want to boost their market shares and revenue by luring subscribers from competitors, rather than with innovative business models, it would not be positive for the development of 5G in the nation. That would hamper sustainable development of the nation’s telecommunications industry.”
Wong went on to say that what they are doing does not help to make the pie bigger as they are not benefiting from new models that could sustain them through the maintenance and operation of 4G services, the auctioning of 5G spectrum and finally commercial operation of 5G.
NCC data showed mobile operators’ revenue declined from TWD53.2 billion ($1.8 billion) in Q2 2016 to TWD49.4 billion in Q4 2017.
A number of operators in the US and Asia are gearing up to launch 5G services in late 2018 or early 2019, including US-based AT&T and Verizon as well as KT, the second largest mobile operator in South Korea.