Hong Kong’s telecoms regulator plans to open up new spectrum for 5G services in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands in 2019 and in the 3.4GHz to 3.7GHz band in 2020.
The Communications Authority (CA) announced it will make 4.1GHz of mmWave spectrum available in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands in 2019 as the territory’s first batch of spectrum for the provision of 5G services.
It also will open a public consultation in the second half of 2017 about vacating spectrum in the 3.4GHz to 3.7GHz band, which is currently assigned for fixed satellite services, and reallocating it for mobile services in 2020. In addition, the CA intends to assign spectrum in the 700MHz band for mobile services after the analogue terrestrial TV switch-off.
Hong Kong’s largest telecoms operator HKT said in a statement: “We think that it is positive the government has listened to our concerns and is now moving in the right direction.”
The operator was outspoken in its criticism of the territory’s telecoms regulator, complaining in February Hong Kong is falling behind in 5G development because it lacks a “forward looking government spectrum policy”.
HKT added: “The government must publish as soon as possible a clear roadmap for the release of the bands for the mobile service operators and other industry parties. The Office of the Communications Authority [OFCA] needs to move much faster so that Hong Kong can catch up and claim a leadership position again.”
The CA is the independent telecoms and broadcast regulator, while OFCA supports the authority in implementing policy.
OFCA said it will hire a technical consultant to advise on the feasible mitigation measures to enable the coexistence of satellite services and mobile service within the 3.4GHz to 4.2GHz frequency band.
While the 28GHz band is currently vacant, part of the 26GHz band is assigned for fixed links in Hong Kong, so the CA will coordinate with the spectrum assignees about relocating their current operations to other frequency bands by mid-2019.
The CA noted the government will also review in 2017-2018 its working target of switching off analogue terrestrial TV service by 2020, with a view to making available the spectrum in the 700MHz band, the so-called digital dividend, for mobile services.
In mid-February, the CA modified its plan to reassign more than one-third of the territory’s total mobile spectrum, proposing a hybrid approach combining a so-called administrative assignment with an auction of 200MHz of airwaves.