Foxconn among six winners of Taiwan 4G licences

TAIPEI - Taiwan's telecom regulator said Wednesday six companies including technology giant Foxconn have won fourth-generation (4G) mobile spectrum licences in an auction, with final bids earning the government US$4.03 billion (S$4.99 billion).

The final bids in the auction, which began on September 3, totalled Tw$118.65 billion (S$4.99 billion) - more than triple the original offer price set by the government, according to the National Communications Commission.

The world's largest contract electronics maker Foxconn - also known as Hon Hai Precision - was among the winners. The conglomerate assembles Apple's iPads and iPhones, plus mobile devices for Sony and Nokia.

Other winners included Chunghwa Telecom, the island's largest telecom operator, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone Telecommunications. The firms are expected to offer 4G services from next year.

4G, which operates five times faster than the current 3G network, allows users to download large e-mail attachments quickly, watch live television without buffering, make high-quality video calls and play live games on the go.

Taiwan lags behind the global rollout of 4G, with dozens of countries including the United States and Germany as well as parts of Asia already offering the service to businesses and consumers.