PCCW's HKT is stepping up its pressure on the Hong Kong SAR government to increase the supply of spectrum for the mobile industry, publicly stating that it is “not acceptable” that no new spectrum has been released for the sector since 2013.
In a public discussion paper, HKT also said it is not acceptable that regulator OFCA plans to release zero new spectrum between 2017 and 2019.
HKT warned that Hong Kong risks falling seriously behind in the global development of 5G and the IoT, and that failure to release spectrum will stifle the growth of Hong Kong's telecoms sector and have major negative knock-on effects for all sectors of Hong Kong's economy.
While the ITU has been stressing since 2015 that governments must make additional spectrum available for 5G deployment, and policymakers other markets including the Chinese government have responded positively to the demand for spectrum, HKT said OFCA has failed to heed the call.
The release of new spectrum is the key pre-condition for meeting Hong Kong's requirement for high-speed, low latency mobile services, as well as advanced mobile applications such as VR and AR, autonomous driving and the IoT, HKT concluded.
HKT has repeatedly urged the HKSAR government to reform its spectrum policy, including by reducing prices for spectrum in the most expensive market for airwaves in the world.
In its latest letter, HKT called on the government to shift priorities away from maximizing the short-term financial windfall gains of a spectrum auction, and towards emphasizing the long term gains that come with having a world-class mobile sector.