In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:

HKT introduces third brand – Sun Mobile
Hong Kong’s HKT has teamed up with an MVNO to introduce a third brand targeted at the low-end market, particularly students. The company’s 1010 brand is aimed at the premium market while CSL is its mass-market brand.

The market leader, with a 37 per cent share of mobile connections (after acquiring CSL eariler this year), is partnering with MVNO Telecom Digital to launch the Sun Mobile brand, which offers plans below HKD200 ($26). Customers can use HKT’s mobile and Wi-Fi networks. Sun Mobile has about 54 retail stores in Hong Kong.

DoCoMo sets up new R&D and innovation units
NTT Docomo plans to open two new business units next week to strengthen innovation and R&D.

The Innovation Management Department, under the R&D innovation division, will drive R&D activities and innovation targeted at smarter-living initiatives. It will develop new business and manage both strategic investments and business tie-ups focused on technology innovation.

The 5G Laboratory, a unit under the R&D innovation division’s research laboratories, will accelerate R&D activities related to the company’s development of a 5G mobile communications system, as well as international standardisation of such technologies.

About 40 people will be employed in the Innovation Management Department and some 30 people will staff the 5G Laboratory.

NCC opens up bands for small cell backhaul
Taiwan’s National Communications Commission has assigned a block of spectrum in the currently unlicensed 5.7-6.4GHz band for 4G operators to deploy small cells for their backhaul. Operators won’t be charged a fee for spectrum but need to apply to the regulator, Digitimes reported.

The regulator is also working on testing standard rules for handset information security and expects to have a draft version by the middle of next year and a final version by the end of 2015.

ZTE leads Smart Voice Alliance
A group of mobile technology companies, led by ZTE, has set up the Smart Voice Alliance, which aims to establish the so-called ‘5A’ protocol, a standard platform for voice-controlled technologies. The group will create guidelines for device makers and application providers to foster the shift from touchscreen to voice-controlled devices.

‘5A’ refers to anyone, anyhow, anytime, anything and anywhere. Other members of the alliance include Audience, Nuance, AutoNavi, Baidu and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

2degrees launches LTE in 4th market
New Zealand’s 2degrees has launched LTE services in a fourth market — Hamilton. It now offers LTE in Auckland (since June), Wellington and Christchurch. The company said average 4G data usage is 70 per cent higher per day compared to 3G users. The operator has a 23 per cent market share and is forecast to have 26,000 4G connections at the end of Q3, according to GSMA Intelligence.