Macau’s telecoms regulator opened a tender for 4G services on 15 September that will run until 18 November and will name the winners of four, eight-year concessions in the first quarter of 2015.
The Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (Direccao dos Servicos de Regulacao de Telecomunicacoes, or DSRT) said the 4G operators will be required to pay 5 per cent of their gross revenue to the government.
The annual operating fee remains the same as for 3G services. Director of the bureau, Horry Hoi Chi Leong, said Macau receives less than MOP10 million ($1.22 million) a year from 3G operators.
The tender winners will need to roll out FDD and/or TDD-LTE networks and have 50 per cent coverage of Macau within a year and 100 per cent in 2016.
The city currently has four mobile operators – CTM, Hutchison Macau (3 Macau), SmarTone and China Mobile – but Hoi said at a press conference that the tender is not necessarily geared towards them. It is open to all local and mainland operators.
Only CTM – the market leader with 47 per cent share – has publicly declared an interest in making a bid. The others are reviewing the requirements. Depending on the number of bids made, the government reserves the right to issue all four licences, Hoi said.
DSRT said 4G services will be offered along with 2G and 3G services as long as there is consumer demand. Hoi said that as a tourist city it will have to cater to the needs of tourists from countries that may still have 2G.