CMHK, HKT, SmarTone, and HTCL each pay over HK$200 million in 5G 3.5 GHz band auction

Hong Kong’s march to becoming a 5G city hits another checkpoint as its Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) reveals the results of its auction for 3.5 GHz band ranges in the 5G Spectrum.

The 3.5GHz band sale was held on 14 October. with China Mobile Hong Kong splashing out the most at HK$300 million. HKT and SmarTone were the next biggest spenders, handing over HK$252 million apiece. Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong (HTHKH) followed behind the pack paying HK$202 million.

The assignment of the spectrum will take effect on 1 April 2020 and be valid for a period of 15 years.

Source: The Office of the Communications Authority

OFCA said that by 14 January 2020 successful bidders will need to pay the spectrum utilisation fees and submit performance bonds to guarantee compliance with the network and service rollout requirement. The bidders are also required to collectively make contributions to a fund for a subsidy scheme to support the upgrade of existing satellite master antenna television systems by 25 November 2019.

Speaking of the result, Anna Yip, CEO of SmarTone said the company will soon launch its 5G services after the 3.5 GHz frequency band is made available after April 2020.

“The bidden 3.5 GHz frequency band is crucial for us to launch the 5G service in Hong Kong. SmarTone will continue to invest and optimise network infrastructure, with the aim of offering customers with fast, stable and seamless network experience and propel Hong Kong on its world-class smart city journey,” she said.

Kenny Koo, HTHKH executive director and CEO, said: “Our acquisition of 5G spectrum in the 3.5GHz band marks yet another milestone in the development of our 5G network. The 3.5GHz band has been dubbed the ‘golden spectrum band’ because of attributes including superiority of coverage and penetration. This deployment fits well with plans to integrate our existing network and re-farm some existing spectrum to facilitate the provision of a 5G service.”

The Hong Kong government will launch two further auctions on 23 October and 4 November for the 4.9GHz and 3.3GHz bands.

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