The decision, taken yesterday by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission, to grant conditional approval for Taiwan's five carriers and transit card issuer EasyCard to set up a national TSM joint venture for NFC payments and ticketing has not been universally welcomed.
"Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chiu Yi-ying said that the TSM company would dominate the market, leaving consumers with no alternatives in the mobile payment service industry," the Taipei Times reports.
"Chiu said the five telecoms firms collectively cover almost the entire 28.65 million mobile phone users in the nation, while EasyCard dominated the integrated-circuit ticketing system with its 35 million customers, far ahead of its closest competitors I Pass (2.8 million) — issued by the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC, 高雄捷運) — and TSWC Cards (2.1 million)."
"The joint venture could create a monopoly in the provision of two of the most common services used in daily life: mobile phone service and mass transportation," Hau Chien-sheng, KRTC's general manager told a press conference. "This does not benefit consumers."
Opposition lawmakers had earlier called on the government to set up its own impartial TSM company, the Taipei Times adds, "but a commission official who declined to be named said there was no government agency willing to take responsibility for establishing such a company".
The Fair Trade Commission's approval of the joint venture is subject to eleven conditions. These, the FTC says, are specifically designed to maintain a level playing field and prevent a monopoly.