OFCA responds to spectrum critics

26 Jul 2017

Hong Kong’s Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has hit back at criticism that it is not doing enough to prepare the way for future 5G mobile services. The territory’s director general of telecommunications, Eliza Lee Man-ching, has told the South China Morning Post that the regulator wants to ensure that Hong Kong remains ‘at the forefront of bringing new technologies and new services’. While local telcos have called on the government to release more frequencies for mobile services, Lee says that OFCA is waiting for the ITU to define the standards and spectrum bands for 5G before pushing ahead with any new allocation of frequencies.

In March this year the watchdog opened a consultation on the possible award of spectrum for 5G services in the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz-28GHz ranges, though an allocation is not expected to be made until 2020 at the earliest. Hong Kong operators currently utilise 582MHz of frequencies in total across all bands, and operators say this is not enough to support 5G services. Mainland China plans to increase its available spectrum from 522MHz to 722MHz by 2019.