THE WRAP: CAT/True deal illegal, HK can't shake unlimited data

John C. Tanner
17 Feb 2012

It was the week that saw legal setbacks for CAT Telecom and TrueMoveH, as Hong Kong cellcos clung to unlimited mobile data plans (mostly) and Indian cellcos geared up for 2G spectrum auctions.

It was a rough week for Thai operators CAT Telecom and TrueMoveH after a senate committee concluded that their 3G network deal is illegal.

TrueMoveH itself isn't in trouble – CAT Telecom is the entity found by the senate committee to have violated three laws in signing a concession agreement with TrueMoveH to effectively extend its concession by 14 years, thus giving it a head start in launching a 3G network. But it’s unclear what the findings could mean for True’s 3G ambitions.

It was also the week in which Hong Kong’s new fair usage policy (FUP) regulations took effect, with the city’s four major mobile broadband operators expected to drop unlimited data plans the day the policy took effect.

In the end, only PCCW killed its unlimited plan, with CSL, 3 HK and SmarTone electing to keep them for the time being. SmarTone’s decision landed it in hot water with customers and the Consumer Council, as the cellco announced earlier this month it would drop unlimited plans. Result: many customers unnecessarily switched to data-cap plans with fresh two-year lock-ins.

In other news for the week, major incumbent mobile operators were reportedly lining up to participate in the auction of spectrumthat will be freed up in the wake of a court decision to revoke 122 2G licenses.

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