Hong Kong gives spectrum for free to boost the city's 5G networks

Hong Kong will allocate 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands in the third quarter of this year to four of the city's mobile network operators.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

June 13, 2024

2 Min Read
Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Office of Communications Authority (OFCA) will allocate 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands in the third quarter of this year to four mobile network operators (MNOs) to boost the city's 5G networks.

In a statement released Wednesday, the telecom watchdog said it has completed the second round of mmWave spectrum assignment to China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK), Hong Kong Telecom (HKT), Hutchison Telephone Company Limited (HTCL) and SmarTone Mobile Communications (SmarTone), after reviewing the applications submitted by the four MNOs about two months ago.

HTCL, which does not have 26 GHz/28 GHz spectrum, will pick up 600 MHz, while the other three operators will be given 200 MHz each – on top of the 400 MHz that each of them previously received in 2019. In essence, the Hong Kong government is creating a level playing field by awarding each MNO 600 MHz of the spectrum.

HK gives away spectrum to boost city's 5G networks.JPG

Handing out spectrum for free

Like the first spectrum allocation in the 26 GHz/28 GHz bands, the four operators are getting the latest batch for free. OFCA gave away only half of the available 2,500 MHz of the 26 GHz/28 GHz frequencies, leaving a huge chunk unallocated.

"The spectrum assignment will enable the MNOs to further expand their 5G networks and enhance capacity, particularly in providing better 5G services at locations with high traffic demand to meet the public expectation for high-speed and reliable mobile services, while also promoting the development of various innovative applications, thereby fostering the development of Hong Kong's smart economy," OFCA said in a press release.

Meanwhile, a spectrum auction in Hong Kong looms over the horizon. OFCA said the 850 MHz/900 MHz and the 2.3 GHz bands, as well as the newly introduced 6 GHz/7 GHz bands, will go on the auction block in the fourth quarter of 2024. In total, there will be 510 MHz of spectrum for 5G mobile services available to bidders.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia-Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism, joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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