Hong Kong’s Communications Authority (CA) gave HKT, China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone an additional two years to deploy 5G services using 26GHz and 28GHz spectrum due to later-than-expected availability of compatible network equipment and handsets.

The three operators had requested the CA amend the network and service rollout obligations for the mmWave spectrum. The agency allocated each operator 400MHz of spectrum in the bands in March 2019.

HKT, China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone are now required to install and use 20 per cent of the minimum number of radio units by April 2024; an additional 30 per cent by the same month in 2025; and the remaining 50 per cent in 2026.

Previously, the installations where to be completed between 2022 and 2024.

The minimum number of radio units (2,500) each operator is required to install and put into service within the specified period remains unchanged.

Following the administrative assignment of the 26GHz and 28MHz spectrum in 2019, a total of 2,500MHz of non-shared spectrum remains unassigned. CA stated it will continue to monitor interest from the industry with a view to determining the appropriate time to call for applications for the remaining spectrum.

Operators in Hong Kong launched 5G services in 2020 using the 3.5GHz band.

Last month, the government raised HKD1.9 billion ($243.8 million) in its latest spectrum sale.