Foxconn's smart watch, paired with an iPhone. Source: Want China Times
The bid by Foxconn ? also known as Hon Hai Precision Ltd. ? will put the company in the running with six other applicants, according to The Wall Street Journal. Taiwan's National Communications Commission will review the list of bidders in August before auctioning off 4G spectrum in September.
For Foxconn, the move is the latest in the company's ongoing push to lessen its reliance on Apple and diversify its offerings beyond contract electronics manufacturing. Foxconn assembles the majority of Apple's products, and that partnership has proved quite lucrative for the Taiwanese company, boosting its profits to $3.2 billion last year.
The high-end smartphone segment Apple's iPhone relies on, though, is generally thought to be maturing, and profits in the sector could plateau or even slip as high-end devices achieve a level of saturation.
To protect itself against this trend, Foxconn has begun developing and marketing its own branded devices. Most recently, such efforts took the form of an iPhone-compatible smart watch, one that measures a wearer's respiration and heartbeat and can check phone calls and Facebook posts.
In addition to the smart watch, Foxconn has also edged closer to producing its own mobile devices, a move that could tie in to the 4G spectrum bid. The iPhone builder in May announced a collaboration with Mozilla on a range of devices that would run that company's Firefox OS. Foxconn did not specify when such devices might materialize or in what form, but the company is thought to be working on both a tablet and a smartphone that will run Mozilla's HTML5-based operating system.