OFTA proposes refarming PHS 1900MHz frequencies for mobile data services

25 Nov 2011

Hong Kong’s Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has proposed that the 1895MHz-1906.1MHz band, currently allocated for Personal Handyphone System (PHS) usage, be re-allocated to help meet demand for mobile data services. PHS usage in the band is currently exempt from licensing, on the condition that it is for private use only. Having been introduced in 1996, surveys conducted in 2010 by OFTA found that PHS equipment was used sparsely in Hong Kong, predominately for home cordless telephones, with extremely limited availability for purchase, as no applications for certification of PHS apparatus had been made since 2002. OFTA notes that the band in question has been deployed in other economies for 3G services, for instance Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) operating in the 1880MHz-1920MHz band in mainland China. Services deployed in this band include Integrated Mobile Broadcast (live TV broadcast over cellular networks). Under the regulator’s proposal, the sale of PHS equipment will not be allowed in Hong Kong after mid-2012 and the use of PHS apparatus will not be allowed after mid-2015. OFTA has issued a consultation paper to invite views from the industry and members of the public on its proposals by 23 January 2012.