Taiwan's Far Eastone has submitted an application to return its 2G license and associated 1,800-MHz spectrum as part of plans to secure more bandwidth for 4G.
Regulator NCC has accepted the operator's application to return 17.5MHz of 1,800-MHz spectrum currently assigned for 2G use, the Taipei Timesreported.
The regulator will now allocate 8.7MHz of this spectrum back to FarEastone for 4G use, and assign the remaining bandwidth to Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom.
Taiwan Mobile will secure 6.3MHz of the returned spectrum while Chunghwa will be handed 2.5MHz.
For Far EasTone, the move will expand its 1,800-MHz spectrum holdings cleared for 4G use to 13.8-MHz, allowing it to better compete against Chunghwa Telecom with its 17.5MHz and Taiwan Mobile's 11.3MHz.
NCC regulations require carriers to return their 2G licenses if they want to reassign spectrum already in use. The regulator expects Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom to follow suit.
Taiwan still has around 2.1 million 2G users, with a majority (1.3 million) subscribed to Chunghwa Telecom. But use of the technology is being phased out – the 2G userbase compares to a combined 22.4 million 2G users and 4.9 million 4G subscribers.