3 Hong Kong joins the 4G market
The nascent market for 4G mobile services in Hong Kong became more crowded yesterday when Li Ka-shing's flagship telecommunications company launched its new high-speed network.
The 4G operations of 3 Hong Kong, the mobile unit of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong, will deliver theoretical internet download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second and initially cover about 90 per cent of the city. Full local coverage is expected in the third quarter.
Other local carriers already offer 4G mobile services: CSL, China Mobile's Hong Kong unit and HKT, PCCW's telecommunications arm. 'We have the capability to deliver a completely different service experience to our customers,' said Amy Lung Pui-ying, the chief operating officer for mobile services at Hutchison Telecom.
The company and HKT are partners in a joint venture called Genius Brand that won a government licence in 2009 to deliver citywide 4G services on a block of radio spectrum in the 2.6-gigahertz band.
The joint venture's network is based on the 4G standard called FDD-LTE (frequency-division duplexing long-term evolution) and built by Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, the world's second-largest supplier of telecommunications equipment.
Lung said the 4G operations of 3 Hong Kong, which had 3.51 million subscribers in the city and in Macau at the end of last year, was complemented by its existing 3G network, which offers internet download speeds of up to 42Mbps, and a selection of 4G mobile devices from Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC and Huawei. The operator offers 4G LTE smartphone service plans at monthly rates of between HK$168 and HK$418. Monthly fees for its 4G media tablet service plans run from HK$168 to HK$398.
While the marketing campaigns of 4G service providers start to escalate, SmarTone is close to launching its 4G network. SmarTone chief technology officer Stephen Chau Kam-kun said it would be rolled out in the third quarter and 'provide better in-building coverage because it runs on the lower 1.8GHz frequency band'.
Hutchison Telecom's share price rose 2.03 per cent to close at HK$3.52 yesterday following the announcement. It was the highest close since reaching HK$3.57 on February 13.