Taiwan NextGen Satellite Communications
Taiwan accepts LEO satellite license applications from November until the end of 2022.
Taiwan is a regional high-tech supply chain center due to its advanced research and development capabilities in semiconductors, 5G telecom and other ICT-related fields. Recent regulatory changes to open LEO communications satellite services, which include an open application period until December 30, 2022 for companies to access Taiwan’s frequency bands, create a compelling case for why Taiwan is an attractive export market for American NextGen satellite communications companies. Given the robust ICT supply chain. Taiwan also presents abundant opportunities for U.S. satellite service providers to partner with local hardware suppliers.
In terms of demand, Taiwan consumers are early adopters of new technologies, as evidenced by large segments of the population already subscribing to LEO telecommunications services even before they have been made available on the market. According to the consumer data firm Statista, as of January 2022, the number of internet users in Taiwan amounted to approximately 21.7 million, accounting for 91 percent of the island’s total population. In addition, Taiwan businesses are pursuing state-of-the-art technologies powered by LEO satellite tools to lower the latency and maximize production on the factory floor to produce more semiconductors, electric vehicles, and consumer electronics, among others.
The Taiwan authorities have also expressed keen interest in LEO telecommunications services due to their resiliency and ability to connect citizens in remote areas. Furthermore, LEO satellite tools have proven to be rapidly deployable, secure, and resilient during times of emergency such as natural disasters, which is relevant to Taiwan given the frequency of earthquakes and typhoons.
To support the ongoing efforts to adopt new technologies, in 2022, the executive branch of the Taiwan government, the Executive Yuan, agreed to open the LEO telecommunications satellite services to the following frequency bands: 10.7-12.7GHz, 13.75-14.5GHz, 17.7-20.2GHz and 27.5-30.0GHz to provide synchronous and non-synchronous satellite fixed communications on the island. This policy move by the Executive Yuan creates great business opportunities for U.S. NextGen satellite communications companies offering LEO telecommunications services at these frequencies.
In addition, the newly established Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) recently announced that from November 8 – December 30, companies can apply for access to radio frequencies for satellite fixed communications, including LEO and other types of satellite communication radio frequencies in Taiwan. MODA also announced a two-year plan to set up non-geostationary orbit satellite equipment that includes building approximately 700 ground stations on the island and three sites abroad.
Updated regulations state that LEO telecommunications service providers must be incorporated in Taiwan, with the total number of shares directly held by any foreigner company not exceeding 49% of the total, and the total of indirectly held shares (through an intermediary) not exceeding 60% of the total. To comply with these regulations, non-Taiwan NextGen satellite communications companies can partner with local mobile carriers as their authorized agents for selling their services on the island. Lastly, no investment from mainland China investors will be allowed, and the minimum investment for applicant firms will be NTD300 million (approximately $9.7 million USD).
Recent regulatory changes and the growing demand from public and private sectors for LEO telecommunications services make Taiwan a top global export market in this sector. U.S. firms interested in expanding their export opportunities in this exciting industry segment are encouraged to contact CS Taiwan Commercial Specialist Rita Chen at Rita.Chen@trade.gov.