Taiwan’s telecom regulator approved two mergers between Taiwan Mobile and Taiwan Star Telecom, and Far EasTone and Asia Pacific Telecom (APT), Taipei Times reported.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) requires Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone to offload some spectrum as their total holdings exceed caps in certain bands. They have until end-June 2024 to return the spectrum to the government or trade it with rivals, the newspaper wrote.

In a statement on 18 January, the NCC explained the remaining operators must boost population coverage to 99 per cent for 4G and 98 per cent for 5G: Taipei Times stated the goals must be achieved by 2027.

Far EasTone recently committed to increasing 5G coverage to 40 per cent this year, up from 30 per cent at end-2022.

Taipei Times reported the mergers also require approved by the Fair Trade Commission.

GSMA Intelligence estimates Taiwan Mobile and Taiwan Star will have 10 million mobile connections, while Far EasTone and APT will have 9.1 million.

Market leader Chunghwa Telecom closed 2022 with 11 million.