All five mobile operators in Taiwan spent a total of TWD138 billion ($4.6 billion) securing 5G spectrum, with the protracted sale registering as the third-priciest auction for the technology in the world, Taipei Times reported, citing figures from the regulator.

Taiwan’s government forecast the sale to generate about TWD44 billion. The price per 10MHz block of 3.5GHz spectrum reached TWD5.075 billion, which the National Communications Commission (NCC) said was a world record.

The auction started on 10 December and ended yesterday (16 January) after 261 rounds. On offer was 270MHz in the 3.5GHz band, 2,500MHz of 28GHz airwaves and 20MHz in the 1.8GHz band.

Market leader Chunghwa Telecom paid TWD45.7 billion for 90MHz in the 3.5GHz band and TWD618 million for 600MHz of 28GHz spectrum. It plans to launch 5G services in July, the newspaper wrote.

Far EasTone acquired 80MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum for TWD40.6 billion and 400MHz in the 28GHz band for TWD412 million, while Taiwan Mobile spent TWD30.4 billion on 60MHz in the 3.5GHz band and TWD206 million for 200MHz of 28GHz airwaves.

Taiwan Star Telecom secured 40MHz in the 3.5GHz band for TWD19.7 billion.

Asia Pacific Telecom, the smallest operator with a 7 per cent market share by subscribers, pulled out of the 3.5GHz sale after initially bidding, but paid TWD412 million for 40MHz of 28GHz spectrum. It said it would look to cooperate with other operators.

The NCC introduced regulations requiring operators to share 5G spectrum with rivals.

Only 1,600MHz of the 28GHz spectrum was sold.