Hong Kong’s Communications Authority (CA) has put the reassignment of 200MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1.8GHz bands for public consultation asking for the comments from the stakeholders on the matter. CA also seeks the views of public on the methods for setting the related spectrum utilization fee (SUF).
After two consultation rounds, the CA and the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development intends to announce the final arrangement and its fees in November 2017.
In the consultation, the authority has set three varied options:
- Reassigning all the spectrum by auction.
- Reassigning all the spectrum to the incumbent spectrum assignees through the offer of the right of first refusal.
- Reassigning 40MHz or one-fifth of the 900/1800MHz spectrum to the incumbents through the offer of the right of first refusal and the rest by way of auction.
CA pronounced that it look forward to four objectives before finalizing – ensuring customer service continuity, efficient spectrum utilization, promotion of effective competition, and encouragement of investment and promotion of innovative services.
The 2G services can only be provided using the 900/1800 MHz spectrum. As of November 2015, there were still 3.1 million 2G services subscribers in Hong Kong. By 2020-2021, there will be still mobile subscribers who would prefer to access services with their 2G handsets. Against this scenario, a major issue of concern for the government is to assess whether there is likely a need to ensure the continuity of 2G services beyond 2020/21.
The existing assignments of the 900/1800 MHz Spectrum to four mobile network operators are due to expire between November 2020 and September 2021. April 18 is the last date to submit the comments.