OFCA to reauction 3G spectrum in Dec

Dylan Bushell-Embling
24 Sep 2014

Hong Kong regulator OFCA will conduct an auction in December to reallocate 49.2 MHz of paired spectrum to be freed by the expiration of operators' existing 3G licenses.

The regulator revealed it will divide the spectrum into five frequency bands of either 9.8MHz or 10MHz.

The auction is for spectrum in the 1.9-GHz to 2.2-GHz bands. It will have a reserve price of HK$48 million ($6.19 million) per MHz. OFCA will impose a spectrum cap of 40 MHz on individual holdings of spectrum in the bands.

OFCA's auction will be the culmination of its controversial 'hybrid' approach to reallocating spectrum once operators' existing 3G licenses expire in 2016.

The regulator decided to reallocate two thirds of the 3G-licensees' existing spectrum and auction the remaining third. This approach was selected partly to give China Mobile Hong Kong or another player a chance to acquire a 3G license.

HKT has meanwhile agreed not to seek the reallocation of 29.6-MHz of spectrum in the bands and not to participate in the auction. Both of these were conditions of its $2.45 billion acquisition of CSL New World Mobility.

The licenses to be auctioned will take effect from October 2016 and have a shelf life of 15 years, OFCA said. Only new entrants or any operators acquiring spectrum outside their existing holdings will have rollout obligations imposed.

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