OFCA prepares to release more mobile spectrum

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) is taking steps to allocate more spectrum for mobile services in response to growing pressure from the local telecoms industry.

The authority plans to consult with the public this year on the vacation of 3.4-GHz to 3.7-GHz band spectrum for public mobile services in 2020, and to make available spectrum in the 26-GHz and 28-GHz bands for 5G services in 2019 at the earliest.

In addition, OFCA has revealed plans to allocate 700-MHz spectrum for mobile services following the planned analog television switch-off in 2020.

HKT, which has been one of the most vocal critics of Hong Kong's spectrum policy, has welcomed the decision but is keeping up the pressure on the government.

In a statement, a HKT spokesperson commented that the company thinks it is “positive that the government has listened to our concerns and is moving in the right direction. Better late than never.”

But he added that “Hong Kong has fallen behind so many countries that have been positively developing their 5G policy, regulatory and spectrum environments and OFCA needs to move much faster so that Hong Kong can catch up and claim a leadership position again.”

HKT is urging the government to publish a clear spectrum roadmap for the release of these spectrum bands for the mobile industry. The operator has also previously called for the introduction of a spectrum trading regime as well as cuts to Hong Kong's high spectrum fees.