For foreigners who want to sign up to APT and their $x99 plans

Hey everyone. This might be a bit long to read so I apologise in advance for making your eyes bleed. TLDR

For the last few years I’ve been purchasing the prepaid cards for $1000 that would last for 6 months and give me about 13GB of data. However, as my needs have grown, I find that I end up eating a lot more data, and I keep buying new blocks of data.

Fast forward to the Chunghwa $499 unlimited Internet craze and it gets me thinking that I should look at some of the plans, I’ve been here with an ARC for quite a long time and I have credit cards, so it shouldn’t be that complicated… I see APT’s and Taiwan Star’s deals for $299 unlimited internet.

I decide to check out Taiwan Star after hearing about @Caspian’s suggestion, which advertises $299 for 21mbps. It’s good enough for the road and I’m cool with that, as the big three are about double the price for the same thing. They say no and make up some convoluted rules about how to join…whatever, i’ll go to APT.

APT’s servicewoman was incredibly helpful but ultimately unsuccessful because their policy is that foreigners need a guarantor. Gee… where have I heard that one before?

Well. This was July/August and I was ready for another battle. So this time… I’m not gonna back off. I’ve read about how people were able to at least pay with deposits after complaining and found The Telecommunications Act, Article 21 forces telcos to provide services fairly.

I went to the NCC, complain, and a few days later APT calls me. They offer me the deposit, but the website still hadn’t been changed. I refused it. I wanted the rules changed at the very least. I don’t want to see another foreigner have to waste their time running to the centre of Taipei to complain for a bloody C$12 plan that doesn’t even have a bloody fixed term contract!

By October, I’ve been to the NCC 4 times. I’ve been to the FTC, the Consumer Protection Centre in the Executive Yuan and the local MP where I live. The MP and staffers were particularly sympathetic and I explained this problem and other problems facing foreigners like the lack of citizenship without giving up for mere mortals.

Well… maybe there is hope. I love Taiwan, but I also see some of the reasons why some can be cynical about it as well here on these forums. But I want to do something about it and I did. I harassed the shit out of APT and the MP continued to push the NCC and other governmental offices to change this rule so that nobody else has to waste their time.

On Friday. the MP’s staffer, of whom I added on LINE, came back to me and announced that they were successful in convincing APT to change their rules. These rules are not perfect, they still want a deposit, they’re still discriminatory. But they’re better. They’re no longer trying to force us to go waste hours of our time to complain to the government to get the “secret deposit service” anymore.

I want to thank Mr Mitch Yu for helping us out. Without him, this battle would’ve probably continued on.


(Yes, he did give permission for me to post the chat online)

And this is the beautiful stack of documents from this whole ordeal.

TLDR: I guess maybe in addition to voicing our opinions on the forums, we can also voice our opinions to those who have the power to enact change as well. Perhaps we should all be going to an MP and other officials to make our voices heard. The amount of discrimination here is unacceptable, yet it’s not Communist China either. We can offer our opinions and suggestions and voices.

@dan2006, @inych, @DutchDuke The dreaded telecom dance is over.

I’m done for the night. When I have a bit of time, I’ll figure out how to join. I hope this makes things easier for somebody here. Ci vediamo.

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Just want to say that I read your whole post and great job!
Very informative.

You may say thank you to your politician friend from myself (and likely others).

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 Very nice e read.  I'm glad you're doing not just complaining.  That's a human issue now, not just a local or foreign thing.  If more people actually pressed issues like this example, many stupid little frustrations wouldn't exist.

I must admit though. I generally understand the post but these might be useful to type out first. I at least don’t know their meaning:
APT
TLDR
NCC
MP
FTC

For what its worth I do get ARC and GB haha.

My experience here with phones was in the beginning I had to sign a co tract and pay a deposit (2 or3 thousand if I remember correctly). This deposit was refunded after 2 years, but I had to make them.do it with an attitude. Afterwards I have gone on all sorts of different plans and cancelled others.

New 2 year contracts for a new phone.

Prepay SIM card.

The top up style where it expire in 6 months, with the 1GB $180 internet

Few others I can’t remember. All with Chunghua. All these changes with the same phone number under both JFRV followed by APRC. I’d say it easy when one knows how to talk to people here. Government officials, and most people, rarely know the regulations and rules related to their work, they need patient and face saving teaching. I go through this every time I’m in a new town and need to ship something using a courier or post office, they all say no, then.we talk. Then they. Check. Then there’s embarrassment, then there’s laughs and it all works fine. If there is condescending waves in the air, forget any progress right or wrong. With all Taiwan’s flaws, I see a lot of hard headed behaviours on both sides of the aisle. Taiwan is one of these countries I feel are so easy to direct people to help you, just need.to.play a small game and they will bend.over backwards to help. Like the to above example.

The part I used feel frustrating, and many foreigners I know also feel frustrating is the game playing requirement to get someone to.do what they are hired to do. the day a person lets this slide and makes.no fuss, is the day Taiwan becomes one of the greatest opportunities left on earth for that person

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No probs.
APT is Asia Pacific Telecom, they now brand their stores as GT4G in English, 亞太電信
TLDR is Too long, don’t read.
NCC is National Communications Commission. Taiwan’s telecom regulator.
MP is Member of Parliament. Taiwan uses a Semi-Presidential system and the Legislative Yuan is a parliament.
FTC is the Fair Trade Commission. Trade practise regulator.

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Good for you Marco.
Other than APTG I’ve threatened complaints against Taiwan Mobile who asked me not to and waived the deposit and FarEast who I emailed their press PR email to complain and they waived it.

I’ve been working behind the scenes to get banks to accept us on our own merits. I recently emailed a CEO of a major bank and he had no idea the rules for credit cards and loans were so stringent and promised to look into it. He was going to see about manually approving me but my TDSR was too high so I was refused .Other banks that I’ve made complaints about have been changed their policies towards foreigners now.

The reason I don’t post the names here is I am afraid there may be a run on the banks by unsavory characters that don’t plan to repay but I do share it privately with those who ask so I can vet whose asking.

On one hand I get why they are being cautious as people can pull a runner but it’s a simple fix. How long has the person been in Taiwan, what’s their credit like, take deposits and give low limits to start and build up if they are trustworthy, check asset levels etc. But it’s much easier for them to say get a guarantor foreigner.

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The best part about this is that the MP really wanted to help despite the fact that I can’t offer my vote cause I’m not Taiwanese.

Change can be enacted. We need to speak up not only to each other but to our Taiwanese friends as well.

It’s such a simple solution that uses simple risk-assessment techniques…yet…It’s like they’re not paid to think, just paid to do things.

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Thanks so much for pushing back on this. When I explain to a lot of my friends the hoops I have to jump through to fight these policies they say “don’t bother, it’s just the way it is” or “if those are the rules you should just follow them”. If everyone just accepts that’s the way it is nothing will ever change.

These idiotic policies can be overturned but you need to be willing to put the time in. Every small victory is a blow to the ignorance and systemic discrimination that keeps Taiwan from becoming a truly competitive place for foreigners to call home.

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No problems. I’ve certainly heard that before, following some rules as if they were handed by god or set by the universe while ignoring others that aren’t agreed to, like traffic rules.

But, this is a group effort. Don’t worry about the naysayers, they’ll just judge anyways. I don’t expect anyone to come and defend me so I need to speak up. I certainly got a bit lucky with this one, but I can’t enact change everytime, all the time, so I encourage others to do what they can. Taiwanese and foreign friends alike. Nobody can listen if they cannot hear you.

There is power in numbers.

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Hi guys, quick update.

I’ve been rather busy and havent been able to go switch plans just yet but I’m ready to now.

If anyone is thinking of switching to APT, but unsure if the service will work in your area, APT offers a 7 day FREE sim card with unlimited internet for you to try-before-you-buy. Hope this helps anyone with their decision.

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I believe most of the companies, if not all, will do this. Da ge da (大哥大) did the same thing for me.

I’m thinking of jumping to another carrier soon.
I’ve had them for over a year, works great at my house but my work locations not so good.

I’m moving so I’ll keep them for a few months to see if the new location is better.
When I’m out and around central Taichung I haven’t had many issues. They seem to have trouble with signal entering into buildings and I’m raising my phone to get signal and other people’s Taiwan mobile chunghwa and FET phones are working fine.

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What phone do you have? APT employs some weird bands that aren’t fully supported on many phones, especially Band 31 and 20, which is low frequency for penetration into buildings. Band 20 is supported on my ROG phone but not my Zenfone 3. Neither of my phones support Band 31.

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Good luck with these 7 day trials though. More often than not they’re citizens only.

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Nahh… they know not to pull that crap, or Uncle NCC and Auntie MP will be a 'knockin.

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Source: Am not a Taiwan citizen.

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To be fair, a large corporate store Taiwan star office last year refused to let me have the free trial. I said I know you offer it, he kept saying they had no such thing. He said you want to try it, I’ll sell you a prepaid sim.
Oh and being your Taiwanese friend to cosign if you return. I was then shoed away as he took the next lady behind me

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That’s the point where I channel my outrage into a productive meeting with officials in Taiwan. I’m kinda curious to see what they say to me.

I love a good call to the NCC but at that moment in time I was only kicking the tires and still had a contract that was ending with Taiwan mobile.

TWM also wanted a deposit but I bitched and they waived it. Ive managed to get out of deposits with everyone except Tstar.
They have an interesting way of dealing with complaining foreigners. The customer service girl will play dumb and pretend she has no idea about any deposit if you call to complain. She will then direct you to the store and claim there is no issue with foreigners signing up. The store will again demand a cosigner. You call customer service again they play dumb again. Eventually the person gets frustrated and goes elsewhere.

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TWM hasnt asked for deposits from me, but their $399 unlimited internet plan has some weird rules (that apply to everyone) but still…

If I got a 2 year $299 deal but want to upgrade to the $499 deal, is that possible?
I mean they will be making more money off me.