Hong Kong telco HKT has released a statement condemning the government’s ‘woefully inadequate’ consultation paper on proposals for new, lower licence fees. In December 2017 the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) ruled that the current approach to setting licence fees was flawed, and ordered the government to develop a new methodology. In June this year the Communications Authority (CA) published its consultation document, which proposes to reduce connection fees under Unified Carrier Licences (UCLs) from HKD700 (USD89) to HKD500 per 100 connections, while mobile base station fees under Public Radiocommunications Services (PRS) and Services-Based Operator (SBO) licences would fall from HKD700 to HKD500 for each 100 mobile stations.
HKT says it is ‘shocked and appalled’ that the CA’s consultation document is just six pages long, with no explanation of the methodology behind the calculation of the new licence fee structure. The telco also states that it is ‘unbelievable’ that no reference is made in the consultation paper to the CFA judgement from December, adding: ‘It was as if the government were completely ignoring the Court and acting above the rule of law.’
HKT goes on to state: ‘By failing to provide full explanations and the necessary information/documentation which would enable the industry to respond constructively, the consultation paper made a mockery of the consultation process and insulted the industry by expecting the licensees to simply accept any reduction in licence fees offered without questioning the manner in which the reduction had been derived or the adequacy of the reduction.’