John C. Tanner
08 Feb 2010
Hong Kong’s mobile broadband war is spilling out into the fixed-line sector as two cellcos are now betting on 3.5G as a DSL substitute.
SmarTone-Vodafone kicked off the trend in May last year with its Home Broadband and Phone service, which leveraged its HSPA network against PCCW’s voice/fixed-broadband package. In late January, Telstra-owned CSL made a similar move with Next G Lifestyle Home Broadband under its one2free brand.
The services are similar in that they offer a wireless gateway that uses 7.2-Mbps HSPA as the last mile link. Customers can connect to the gateway either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cables, and can also plug in analog phones for voice calls.
The chief difference for CSL, says Han Kotterman, chief strategy officer for CSL’s strategy and business development team, is indoor coverage.
“We offer 3G on 900 [MHz], which no one else in Hong Kong has,” he told telecomasia.net. “With 900 coverage you get much better indoor penetration of the signal, so that helps us to deliver a broadband experience in the home as it was meant to be.”
Kotterman also points out that CSL is offering a higher uplink speed (5.76 Mbps vs. SmarTone-Vodafone’s 2 Mbps).
CSL isn’t just using its network to differentiate itself – there’s also a “Follow Me” single-number feature that allows mobile voice usage at home to be counted under the home voice package.