Hong Kong telecoms regulator OFTA has decided to auction additional GSM mobile frequencies in the 1800MHz spectrum band to existing network operators by mid-2009. After analysing responses to its consultation paper ‘Assignment of the Available Radio Spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz Bands’, published in January, OFTA has decided to allocate 2×4.8MHz of wireless bandwidth (1780.1MHz–1784.9MHz paired with 1875.1MHz–1879.9MHz), split into six blocks, for the purposes of service expansion. The six spectrum concessions will expire on 29 September 2021, in line with existing GSM network operating licences. OFTA aims to complete necessary legislative processes for the auction by the end of this year, to publish bidding documents in early 2009, and to conduct the sale in the first half of 2009.
Regarding proposals for issuing additional 900MHz spectrum, OFTA has deferred its decision, pending a reassessment of market demand and the technical feasibility of frequency sharing in light of Hong Kong’s recent plans for cross-boundary train services. The watchdog will consult on the assignment of all available spare radio spectrum in the 900MHz and 800MHz bands after details of the design of the Express Rail Link (XRL) are finalised.