Hong Kong’s Communications Authority (CA) has decided to withdraw regulatory guidance on the interconnection charges between fixed network operators, subject to an 18-month transitional period. Following a two-month consultation, the CA concluded its review of narrowband interconnection between fixed carriers, which is the only remaining type of carrier-to-carrier local interconnection subject to regulatory guidance on charges. Fixed-fixed broadband interconnection charges, mobile-mobile interconnection charges and fixed-mobile interconnection charges, are not subject to any regulatory guidance and are solely determined through commercial negotiations between the telecommunications operators. In view of the competitive environment in the local fixed telecommunications market and the wide range of service choices available to the consumers at affordable prices, the CA considered that the withdrawal of wholesale regulation would not impact the retail prices of local fixed services.
The regulatory guidance will cease to be effective starting from 16 October 2014 after an 18-month transitional period. Fixed carriers are encouraged to make their best endeavours to conclude commercial agreements on interconnection. In the meantime, the CA will ensure that fixed carriers fully observe any-to-any connectivity requirement, i.e. any customer in any network can have access to any other customer in any interconnecting network, such that services would not be interrupted in case of failure of commercial negotiations between fixed carriers.