Taiwan’s telecoms regulator announced plans to release 150MHz of 4G spectrum in four frequency bands, with open-bids expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it will release spectrum in the 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz bands, which are currently used for 3G service and whose licences expire in December 2018, and additional airwaves in the 1.7GHz, 1.8GHz, 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz bands, DigiTimes reported.

The NCC said the tender will have two stages, with operators first bidding for the total bandwidth they require and then the successful bidders selecting the frequency bands they want.

To close the gap in mobile internet access between urban and rural areas, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will require the winners to meet specific obligations to improve mobile infrastructure in remote areas.

The country held a 4G tender in December, with four operators paying TWD27.9 billion ($855 million) for six blocks of 2.6GHz spectrum. Market leader Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunication each secured two blocks.

An initial 4G auction in 2013 raised TWD118.6 billion.

Six operators already have 17.1 million 4G connections in the country, according to GSMA Intelligence. 4G connections surpassed 3G connections in Q3 last year, with 3G subscribers falling to 13.5 million in Q4. Chunghwa Telecom had 6.7 million LTE users at the end of 2016, while Far EasTone had 4.3 million and Taiwan Mobile 3.8 million.