On 23 March 2022, the National Communications Commission (NCC) finalised its spectrum plan for satellite communication further to completion of the amendments to the radio frequency supply plan by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in July 2021 (for further details please see "MOTC plans priority of spectrum allocation for beyond 5G satellite communication") in the following frequency bands:
- 10,700-12,700 megahertz (MHz);
- 13,750-14,500 MHz;
- 17,700-20,200 MHz; and
- 27,500-30,000 MHz.
The above bands will be made available to registered telecoms service providers for the deployment of both geostationary and non-geostationary fixed satellite communications. The frequency licence will be for a term of two years subject to qualification review of the NCC without auction and may be renewable upon expiration. The frequency licenses will be available to domestic telecoms service providers or joint ventures in Taiwan subject to restriction of foreign holding stipulated in article 36 of the Telecommunications Management Act. The international satellite broadband providers (Starlink, Kuiper, OneWeb and Telesat) could possibly set up joint ventures with each other in Taiwan or go into business collaboration with selected local telecoms service providers (for further details please see "Technology, media and telecoms trends to watch in 2022").
The NCC mentioned, pending for final confirmation of the Radio Regulations managed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), no frequency usage protection for geostationary satellites operated under the ITU Radio Regulations will apply to non-geostationary satellites. During their period of operation, non-geostationary satellites must immediately eliminate any harmful interference with geostationary satellite services. Harmony and effective use of radio frequencies are required for non-geostationary satellite systems.
The NCC specifically alerted that, as the bands of 10,700-12,700 MHz, 14,000-14,500 MHz and 29,500-30,000 MHz are currently used for digital microwaves, fixed satellite communications and satellite broadcasting television services, newcomers must not interfere with the existing radio stations of incumbents. Further, the 27,500-27,900 MHz band is a subset of the third-generation partnership project band n257, which was offered in the April 2020 5G spectrum auction. The 27,000-27,900 MHz segment remained unsold (for further details please see "5G spectrum auction ends and real competition begins"). Further proposed use of the satellite systems in the 27,900-29,500 MHz band must coordinate with the four licensed 5G operators for share-use in this case.
The NCC will release its guidelines for application within the next 60 days for public notice and will be ready to process applications as soon as June 2022.
For further information on this topic please contact Arthur Shay at Shay & Partners by telephone (+886 2 8773 3600) or email ([email protected]). The Shay & Partners website can be accessed at www.elitelaw.com.