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HKT Targets Hong Kong 5G First

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HKT detailed plans to launch 5G service in parts of Hong Kong on 1 April, which would make it the first operator in the territory to offer the next-generation technology.

In the initial phase, the operator said coverage will reach 11 of the territory’s 18 districts, including Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Central, with plans to extend to all districts and major subway lines in the coming months.

Group MD at HKT, Susanna Hui said in a statement the operator’s substantial 5G spectrum holdings and extensive fibre-backed infrastructure left it well-placed to deliver a differentiated experience. Its new base stations are connected to the core network by optical fibre, she added.

Hong Kong completed the last of three 5G spectrum auctions in November 2019.

HKT paid HKD199.5 million (US$25.7 million) for 30MHz of mid-band spectrum, adding to 40MHz in the 4.9GHz band and 200MHz of 3.5GHz aquired previously. It also was awarded 400MHz in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands administratively assigned by the government in March 2019.

To prepare for the launch and expand network capacity, it boosted capex 4.4 per cent to HKD2.7 billion in 2019, with the revenue ratio upped to 8.2 per cent from 7.4 per cent in 2018.

Monthly data plans start at HKD198 for 8GB of data.

Preparations

In December 2019, rival China Mobile Hong Kong, conducted standalone (SA) 5G network tests after installing base stations supporting SA and non-standalone (NSA) at its 5G innovation centre.

Meanwhile, SmarTone, the fourth-largest operator in the territory, named Ericsson as its sole 5G equipment vendor. In March 2019, the companies started 5G field trials on the 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands.

The operator, which didn’t announce a launch date, said it will be the first operator in Hong Kong to deploy Ericsson’s spectrum sharing technology, enabling dynamic sharing of 4G and 5G frequencies. –Mobile World Live

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