No network sharing for HKBN's Wong

John C. Tanner
18 Jun 2009

While infrastructure sharing and government-backed broadband have been common themes at CommunicAsia, the chief of Hong Kong’s gigabit broadband operator says he’d rather build a network from scratch than lease a competitor’s.

Hong Kong Broadband Network co-founder and chair Ricky Wong said during the Next Generation Broadband Forum Wednesday the company’s FTTB offering - which ranges from 50 Mbps up to 1 Gbps - is completely self-built and owned “from the socket in your flat to my data center.”

Wong also said that going it alone allowed HKBN to build a truly differentiated service that allows it to avoid getting caught up in Hong Kong’s notorious price wars.

“No one else offers 100 megabits. Our upstream traffic is three times that of our downlink traffic, but we’re symmetrical, so we can handle it,” Wong said.

Wong said that although PCCW has cut its broadband tariffs to much lower than what HKBN currently charges, it hasn’t hurt his business at all. “I want to compete on quality, not price. Even though we raised our prices, our churn has gone down to 0.5%, and my ARPU is almost double what it was three years ago.”

Wong also noted that all this happened with Hong Kong regulator OFTA staying out of the way and letting the market dictate rollouts. Wong added that if OFTA really wants to help the broadband market, it should establish a rating system to label broadband services by speed.

“The broadband market is very misleading and confusing right now because everyone claims to sell broadband even if it’s not that broad. I mean, we have mobile operators claiming to sell high-speed broadband,” Wong said. “There should be a system where you can be certified as broadband 1, broadband 2, 3 or 4 to let customers know what kind of service they’re really getting.”

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