Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) Urges Radical Changes or Disaster Looms

Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) said in a statement that radical changes need to be made to the Hong Kong Government’s spectrum policies if they plan to avoid severe consequences for its Smart City aspirations. The call is made as HKT announced it successfully conducted trials for the commercial deployment of mobile 5G technology.

HKT began publishing a series of papers in December 2016, critical of Hong Kong’s outdated spectrum policy.  This week the carrier released a paper entitled “Telecommunications Policy – It’s Broken and Needs Urgent Review: Other Countries Can Do It. Why Not Hong Kong?”.

The paper notes that the Communications Authority (CA) stated it is laying the groundwork for the launch of 5G services in 2020. “However, this is completely misleading,” according to the HKT paper. “Making spectrum available by 2020 does not allow the launch of 5G services by 2020. As the CA is very well aware, it can take around two years for spectrum assignees to prepare the rollout of the network using newly acquired spectrum…On the CA’s schedule, territory wide coverage will not be available until 2022,” it said.

“What the Government is offering are baby steps only; Hong Kong needs giant steps forward if it hopes to catch up with global leaders including China,” according to the HKT paper. “Particularly disturbing is that the Government does not seem to understand what is at stake here and, while making Hong Kong a ‘Smart City’ is stated as a policy objective, there seems to be no recognition that no city will be a smart city unless 5G is introduced early and widely,” the paper said. “Other countries have made enormous strides in freeing up new spectrum for mobile use in anticipation of 5G being an enabler of their smart city policies.”

The paper said, “If the Government truly wants 5G adoption and if it wants Hong Kong to become a Smart City then it really ought to care about the state of the telecoms sector.”

Published June 13, 2019

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