Hong Kong expands 5G network capacity to offset roaming losses
Transitioning 3G and 4G users over to the latest 5G handsets and services in order to raise ARPU can’t come soon enough for Hong Kong’s mobile operators.
The four MNOs and 24 MVNOs have been battered by the Covid-19 crisis and the accompanying travel restrictions, which has resulted in a substantial decline in the otherwise lucrative roaming revenue. Across the board, overall operator revenues are down. But the sector is putting all its energy into expanding its blossoming 5G market with the expectation of increasing its local service revenue as customers take advantage of the fast download speeds to consume more content (and hence bandwidth).
The telecom sector regulator, the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA), has got in on the act as well, opening up to public consultation on reassigning spectrum from LTE to 5G use. This comes hot on the heels of yet another 5G spectrum auction, making a further 255MHz of spectrum available across multiple bands to supplement an already well-served market. With Hong Kong having one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates at over 300%, the sector is banking on its sophisticated user base choosing to come along for the ride.Key developments:
Companies mentioned in this report:Hong Kong Telecom (HKT), Hutchison Telecom (Hutchison 3), SmarTone, China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK), Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN), i-Cable, HGC Global Communications.
- Google and Facebook abandon the Hong Kong leg of the Pacific Light Cable Network following objections by the US Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense.
- OFCA auctions a further 255MHz of spectrum for 5G use while opening public consultations on reassigning 90MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz range from LTE to 5G.
- Pay TV and fixed broadband operator i-Cable is taken over by New World Development’s Chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun.