Successful Conclusion of the Auction of Radio Spectrum in 900 and 1800MHz Bands

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today (18 December 2018) that a total of 120MHz of spectrum, comprising 50MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band and 70MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band was successfully auctioned off to four mobile network operators (MNOs) at total spectrum utilisation fees (SUF) of HK$6 billion.

The Communications Authority (CA) decided in December 2017 to adopt a hybrid administratively-assigned cum market-based approach for re-assigning a total of 200MHz of radio spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands in view of the expiry of the existing assignment terms between November 2020 and September 2021. 80MHz of the spectrum in the 1800MHz band was administratively re-assigned to four incumbent spectrum assignees (viz. China Mobile Hong Kong Company Limited (CMHK), Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) Limited (HKT), Hutchison Telephone Company Limited (HTCL) and SmarTone Mobile Communications Limited (SmarTone)) in September 2018. The assignment of the remaining 120MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands was determined by the auction completed today.

Four bidders, all incumbent spectrum assignees, took part in the auction which commenced on 17 December 2018 and came to a satisfactory conclusion after a total of 16 bidding rounds on 18 December 2018. The provisional successful bidders, the radio spectrum under bidding and the SUF determined in the auction are at Annex .

“Together with 20MHz of the spectrum administratively re-assigned to each of the four incumbent spectrum assignees earlier, CMHK, HKT, HTCL and SmarTone would respectively be assigned 50MHz, 60MHz, 40MHz and 50MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for a new term of 15 years after expiry of the existing assignments. Each provisional successful bidder is required to submit a letter of credit by 20 March 2019 to guarantee payment of the SUF concerned before the actual re-assignment of the spectrum takes effect,” a spokesman for OFCA said.

“Some of the spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands will change hands in the new assignment term. The incumbent spectrum assignees will have a transitional period of about two years to reconfigure their existing networks and/or roll out additional network infrastructure. OFCA will coordinate with them to ensure a smooth changeover during the run up to the commencement of the new assignment term,” the spokesman added.



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