Hong Kong’s Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has announced that two operators successfully bid for a total of 20 MHz of radio spectrum in the 850 MHz and 900 MHz Bands respectively, at a total sum of HK$1.952 billion.
Five mobile network operators and one fixed network operator took part in the spectrum auction. Conducted on an Internet-based software platform, the auction was completed after a total of forty one bidding rounds over four days.
OFTA cited a continued boom in mobile communications, in particular in mobile data that is driving the need for additional spectrum. Total mobile data usage has witnessed an explosive growth with a year-on-year increase of 189%, from 638 terabytes in December 2009 to 1,847 terabytes in December 2010 after the number of mobile data subscribers approached six million in mid-2010. The assignment of the radio spectrum through the auction enables the successful bidders to make use of the newly acquired spectrum to expand their existing networks with additional network capacity to meet the market demand.
Hutchison and SmarTone were the winning bidders, paying a combined HK$1.9 billion (US$243 million). SmarTone bid HK$875 million for half the available spectrum, and Hutchison HK$1.077 billion for the remainder.
The operators will be granted 15 year licenses for the spectrum, and be required to cover 50% of the population within five years from the grant of the licences.
For information relating to the telecommunications market in China, see: Hong Kong;
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