MODA releases spectrum for next generation satellite communication

Artist : Mr. Chau-yih Yu

The Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) has officially released a spectrum for fixed satellite communication (for further details please see “NCC confirms spectrum added for fixed satellite communication” and “Guidelines finalised for application of LEO satellite services“). Between 8 November 2022 and 30 December 2022, eligible users are encouraged to apply for a frequency licence, which will be renewable every two years subject to approval by the MODA in the following frequency bands (Ku/Ka bands):

10,700-12,700 megahertz;
13,750-14,500 megahertz;
17,700-20,200 megahertz;and
27,500-30,000 megahertz.

The frequency licences will be available to registered telecoms service operators. However, the MODA has lowered the paid-in capital requirement of an eligible user from 500 million Taiwanese dollars to $300 million Taiwanese dollars. Foreign direct investment in the licence holder is capped at 49% but foreign shareholding of up to 60% may be allowed if indirect investment is included. On the other hand, frequency licences may be also available to Taiwanese companies that meet the above capital requirement and further register with the National Communications Commission for telecoms services under an agent-like arrangement with existing satellite network operators – that is, the Taiwanese counterpart holds the frequency licence in a local distribution business for its foreign partners.

The MODA, at the same time, confirmed its two-year project for proof of concept of communications resilience via a satellite network. In an interview with BBC HARDtalk, Minister Audrey Tang said:

So learning from Ukraine, we’re now investing around, I think, 15 million USD over the next couple years to build more than 700 mobile or fixed satellite receivers for the non-geostationary satellites in orbit, so that we can still keep a line open to talk to our democratic allies around the world, even in the event of the severe disruption to our submarine cables.

Additionally, local press recently revealed that Microsoft and Pegatron have been partnering in testing 5G ORAN for mobile satellite resilience communications. Regarding this development, Minister Tang commented:

[We are] quite happy with our existing collaboration with vendors currently in mid Earth orbit. And we will, of course, expand that to new vendors to the low Earth orbit.

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