PCCW, 3 raise LTE speeds to 150Mbps via 2600MHz upgrade; PCCW pushes 80GB plan

24 Jun 2013

Hong Kong operators PCCW and 3 last week raised the theoretical maximum download speeds of their 4G LTE mobile broadband networks to 150Mbps, as they switched on an additional 2×5MHz of 2600MHz band spectrum acquired via their joint infrastructure sharing vehicle Genius Brand, raising their total active 2600MHz bandwidth to 2×20MHz.

PCCW also launched what it says is Hong Kong’s first LTE ‘Category 4’ (CAT 4) smartphone, the Huawei Ascend P2 LTE, alongside other new LTE CAT 4 devices including a 150Mbps-enabled USB dongle (Huawei E3276s-150) and a 150Mbps-enabled Pocket Wi-Fi hotspot (Huawei E5776s-32). As reported by CommsUpdate, last month rival CSL launched Hong Kong’s first CAT 4 LTE device, a portable Wi-Fi router, for users of its 1O1O and one2free brands, following a similar activation of its full 2×20MHz 2600MHz band allocation.

PCCW last week also introduced an ‘Ultimate Mobility’ service plan offering 80GB of domestic mobile data usage at a monthly rate of HKD880 (USD113). Local newspaper The Standard wrote that the new higher data volume package is seen by some as ‘trying to skirt the ban on offering unlimited plans’, although Bruce Lam Kwok-shing, chief marketing officer of PCCW Mobile, refused to view the 80GB scheme as a substitute for unlimited tariffs, stressing that smartphone owners are using ever-increasing levels of data with high-definition content, adding that an ‘overwhelming majority’ of PCCW’s new sign-ups take 5GB-plus plans. The next largest data volume package available is CSL’s 1O1O brand’s 35GB plan costing HKD759, the report added.

For its part, 3 announced that the additional block of 2600MHz band spectrum, acquired by Genius Brand in March, gave an immediate boost to mobile network speed, and added that it is now planning to launch a variety of LTE CAT 4 services in the near future.