Taiwan’s Asia Pacific Telecom announced plans to speed up the build out of its 4G network and push forward the launch of services from Q1 next year to the end of this year.
The company is eager to join the race for 4G customers and will be the fifth operator to offer 4G services on the island of 23 million people. According to the latest figures from GSMA Intelligence, the country’s three major operators each have about 250,000 4G subscribers, representing 2.5-3.5 per cent of their total connections.
Asia Pacific Telecom does face one major obstacle – it has not yet received approval from the regulator to start building its 250 4G base stations.
Taiwan Mobile, Chunghwa and Far EasTone Telecommunications launched 4G services in May and June while Taiwan Star Telecom started offering 4G plans last month.
The big three operators said last week they are considering cutting prices of their 4G plans to compete against Taiwan Star, whose 4G services are roughly half the price of the others.
Taiwan Star claims to have 4G coverage across 85 per cent of Taiwan and will increase that to 96 per cent by the end of the year.
Asia Pacific Telecom Chairman Lu Fan-ming told the Taipei Times the company has 30MHz of 4G bandwidth while Taiwan Star has 5MHz now, and will have an additional 5MHz in 2018.
Meanwhile, the National Communications Commission has given Far EasTone the go ahead to expand its 4G services to the 1.8GHz band from the 700MHz frequency it is now using. Using the 1.8GHz band the operator plans to have 80 per cent coverage of the country’s five largest cities by the end of the year.