Hong Kong cellcos embark on 4G price war

Fiona Chau
04 May 2012

The competition in Hong Kong’s 4G mobile market is heating up, with 3 Hong Kong and PCCW Mobile joining the LTE race this week.

By no coincidence, the two mobile carriers announced separately on Wednesday the official launch of their joint LTE network that operates on the 2.6GHz frequency band, with different marketing strategies.

In an attempt to cover all the customer segments, 3HK offers five monthly data plans for LTE smartphones users, with starting price of HK$168 ($21) for 300MB, to HK$418 for unlimited data and a free LTE handset.

Customers switch from other operators can also choose from five differently monthly plans cost between HK$118 (400MB) to HK$358 (unlimited data with 3900 airtime).

It also introduced four similar tariff plans for tablet users and two monthly 4G data plans for USB dongle users.

Amy Lung, COO of 3HK, said the 4G service plans are about HK$20 to HK$30 higher than the average cost of current 3G service plans, but added that the company doesn’t want to see a price war in the nascent 4G market.

“We don’t want to see a vicious competition at the start of 4G launch. That’s why we are offering a variety of different tariff plans to meet different demands from customers,” Lung said.

Lung said the LTE network initially covers about 90% of all major areas in Hong Kong, but is expected to reach about the same scale as the operator’s 3G network by the third quarter.

PCCW Mobile, on the other hand, offers a 10 GB plan for an average monthly cost of HK$176 (for SIM card only) or HK$343 (comes with LTE smartphone), but customers need to sign up for 30-month contract. Similar to 3HK, PCCW Mobile also offers unlimited WiFi access to all its data plans as a complementary service.

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