Hong Kong telecoms regulator OFTA launched on Friday an auction of radio spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz-2.6GHz bands for the provision of broadband wireless access (BWA) services. A total of 195MHz of spectrum (90MHz in the 2.3GHz band and 105MHz in the 2.5GHz-2.6GHz bands) will be auctioned in January 2009. The available spectrum will be divided into twelve frequency bands, each with a bandwidth of 5MHz or a multiple of 5MHz. The reserve price will be HKD25 million (USD3.2 million) for every 5MHz. The use of the frequencies will be subject to one-off upfront payments of ‘spectrum utilisation fees’, the amount of which is to be determined by the auction. Additionally, before being granted a licence, a performance bond of HKD50 million for every 5MHz won must be submitted as a guarantee for compliance with network and service rollout requirements.
Licences will be valid for a period of 15 years under the country’s converged Unified Carrier regulatory framework, which was introduced on 1 August. Both new entrants and incumbent licensees can take part in the auction in January, with bidding for any combination of frequency bands allowed, subject to a spectrum cap of 30MHz. Licensees will be allowed to provide fixed, mobile voice or data services or a combination of these services using the frequency bands. Licensees will not be subject to any particular standards or technologies for BWA development. Licensees will be required to implement and facilitate, at their own expense, fixed and mobile number portability.