Hong Kong’s Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has invited applications for 5G licences in the 3.3GHz, 3.5GHz and 4.9GHz bands. The regulator intends to auction a total of 380MHz of spectrum across the three bands, including 100MHz at 3.3GHz, 200MHz at 3.5GHz and 80MHz at 4.9GHz. The first auction – for the 3.5GHz frequencies – will be held on 14 October, and this will then be followed by the 4.9GHz and 3.3GHz sales. Applications are being accepted until 13 September.
Reserve prices have been set at HKD2 million (USD256,000) per MHz for the 3.3GHz spectrum, HKD4 million per MHz for the 3.5GHz spectrum and HKD3 million per MHz for 4.9GHz frequencies. A spectrum cap of 70MHz will be imposed on winning bidders in the 3.5GHz band auction, while a limit of 40MHz per operator will be imposed in the other two bands.
In March this year OFCA awarded 5G-capable licences in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands to HKT, SmarTone and China Mobile HK (CMHK). The territory’s fourth cellco, Hutchison 3, declined to take part in the award process, saying that there will be sufficient spectrum available for 5G services in the 3.3GHz, 3.5GHz and 4.9GHz bands, while the higher range frequencies are also not suitable for providing indoor coverage.