Hong Kong’s Communications Authority (CA) released a statement yesterday (6 November 2012) permitting China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) and SmarTone Mobile Communications (SmarTone) to swap a portion of their wireless spectrum in the 1800MHz band. The two cellcos are currently each assigned a total of 2×13.2MHz spectrum in the 1800MHz band. Their assignments are not contiguous as different frequency blocks were assigned to them at different times. In order to convert some of their fragmented frequency blocks to contiguous ones, CMHK and SmarTone submitted a joint request to the CA asking for its permission to swap 2×1.6MHz blocks of their assigned spectrum. The objective of the equal swap is to reduce the interference with other networks and to improve the service quality, resulting in more flexible use of the spectrum, thereby increasing the spectral efficiency and network capacity of both operators. The frequency blocks to be swapped are currently held as: (a) CMHK – 1716.9-1718.5MHz paired with 1811.9-1813.5MHz (2×1.6MHz); and (b) SmarTone – 1781.7-1782.5MHz paired with 1876.7-1877.5MHz (2×0.8MHz) and 1784.1-1784.9MHz paired with 1879.1-1879.9MHz (2×0.8MHz).
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that SmarTone switched on an 1800MHz 4G LTE network in August this year, while CMHK currently uses its 1800MHz spectrum for 2G services, having launched LTE in the 2600MHz (FDD) band in April, whilst preparing for the imminent launch of 2300MHz TD-LTE.