325 megahertz of low- and mid-band spectrum to be made available
Hong Kong’s Communications Authority (CA) confirmed that it expects to award a total of 325 megahertz of spectrum in various frequency bands in the fourth quarter of this year.
CA stated the sale will provide 220 megahertz of new spectrum in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz and 4.9 GHz bands, along with 105 megahertz of re-assigned 850 MHz and 2.5 GHz to 2. 6GHz.
The regulator also said that the available spectrum will meet the needs of various innovative applications such as 5G mobile services.
A single auction will be held using a simultaneous multiple round ascending format. A spectrum utilization fee (SUF) will be determined by the auction, CA said, with the government setting reserve prices.
Winning bidders will have the option to pay the SUF in a lump sum or annual instalments.
CA also said that Hong Kong mobile operators will be required to reach a minimum population coverage of 90% within five years for the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 2.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz frequencies allocations. The service obligation for the 4.9 GHz band is 50% population coverage with five years, with a requirement for the deployment of at least 100 indoor base stations in the 600 MHz band over the same time period.
The CA will allocate a total of 140 megahertz comprising 2×35 megahertz blocks in the 600 MHz and 700 MHz bands; 15 megahertz in the 850 MHz band; nine 2×5 megahertz blocks of 2.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz bands; and 80 megahertz of 4.9 GHz spectrum.
China Mobile Hong Kong, Hutchinson and HKT had launched commercial 5G services in Hong Kong in April 2020, whileSmarTone, announced the launch of commercial 5G services in the territory using Ericsson’s Dynamic Spectrum Technology (DSS) in May last year.
Local operators had acquired 200 megahertz of 3.5 GHz spectrum in mid-October 2019. These 5G licenses will be valid for a 15-year period.
In January 2021, SmarTone, said that its 5G network already provided coverage throughout Hong Kong, currently covering over 95% of the population.
SmarTone’s 5G network coverage has been extended to 65 rural areas, including country parks, cycle tracks, hiking trails, nature trails and campsites.