• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 7:39am

HKTV forges ahead with mobile TV despite TVB cutting lease

Ricky Wong's network says it will not bow to its latest obstacle - rival TVB's premature cut of the leases of six hilltop transmission stations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 January, 2014, 4:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 4:42am

Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) says it will stick to its plan of launching mobile television by July despite its impending loss of transmission stations.

In the latest problem besetting the network, free-to-air broadcaster TVB said that by July 6 it would terminate the leasing of six transmission stations to China Mobile Hong Kong, which HKTV bought last month.

HKTV, chaired by broadcasting investor Ricky Wong Wai-kay, has been focusing its energies on launching mobile and internet television since the government rejected its application for a free-to-air TV licence in October.

The company plans to launch three to five channels in July. It will negotiate new leases with TVB to share the sites and facilities of the transmission stations, according to its filing with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

"Where necessary, the company may request The Office of the Communications Authority (Ofca) for assistance (such as mediation)," it said.

Under section 36AA of the Telecommunications Ordinance, the authority may direct a licensee to co-ordinate and co-operate with another licensee in the public interest to share the use of a facility, HKTV said.

On Monday, the company applied for a judicial review of the government's licensing decision.

A day later, TVB said it was ending the two lease contracts with six months' notice, citing legal uncertainties arising from China Mobile's ongoing checks into the acquisition of its subsidiary to see if it violated mainland rules. It declined to give the dates of the contract period.

HKTV told the stock exchange that the termination would not affect its plan to launch mobile television on July 1. It said technical solutions would ensure sufficient coverage for the new service, without spelling out details.

China Mobile Hong Kong has seven hilltop transmission stations in operation, the Ofca website shows.

HKTV trading was suspended yesterday morning after its share price fell more than 3 per cent. Trading resumed in the afternoon and closed at HK$3.36, down 0.6 per cent, compared with a gain of 1.25 per cent of the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Meanwhile, Ofca said TVB or HKTV could request its intervention to reach an agreement.

As hilltop transmission stations were built on limited government land, the authority advocated that private operators should share the use of the facilities, a spokeswoman said. China Mobile Hong Kong could also consider building new stations on rooftops, she said.

Information-technology-sector lawmaker Charles Mok, of the Professional Commons, urged Ofca to clarify whether it would intervene.

"The reason TVB offers is not very reasonable," he said. "The investigation is internal. China Mobile did not say there was likely to be a problem, and did not require the deal to be reversed. In fact, it is already a done deal. What is taking place at China Mobile is none of [TVB's] business."



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Dropped by TVB, investigated by its "partner" : is HKTV being punished for having given the government some troubles in the past few months...?
"As hilltop transmission stations were built on limited government land, the authority advocated that private operators should share the use of the facilities, a spokeswoman said. China Mobile Hong Kong could also consider building new stations on rooftops, she said."
Ofca is not talking sense since it knows perfectly why the high radiation transmission stations are built away from human beings on remote hilltops.
Can we request her home address as well so that her suggestion could be carried out in her own backyard, i.e. above her apartment or office?
The sprouting of mobile phone transimission stations unchecked all over Hong Kong without OFCA's monitor is already unacceptable. Some world class city indeed.
Dai Muff
Sounds like Beijing is pulling some strings here, just as it is about the new RTHK building.
As reported on a Chinese newspaper on 23 Dec, after closing the deal for the mobile TV license but before the endorsement by the Authority, Ricky Wong triumphantly talked to the media that God was on his side (天在幫我們) therefore he got the license. Ricky Wong surely needs more helps from God. May God bless you Ricky!
As much as Ricky Wong thinks he's winning the battle, he's not..........he has already been branded as a nuisance and trouble maker by the HK Government and of course his competitors TVB and maybe ATV. If he thinks these other groups are gonna let him have it easy, he's got another thing coming his way.........While the public is admiring his persistence, he is merely displaying ignorance in pursuing this losing battle.
He should walk away from the television business before he loses his shirt...........better being a loser now than a bigger loser later.
CY Leung and his motley crew better do the right thing (ok, still dreaming) or no more credibility with HK people (ok, maybe he already doesn't have any).
Not particularly fond of Ricky per se, but Go Ricky!
Daily: The only loser is you.
hard times !
we Hongkongers ( at least the majority of us) may agree with Ricky Wong that 'what is taking place at China Mobile is none of TVB's business and the deal between HKTV and China Mobile (Hong Kong) is already a done deal.The deal can never be reversed.
This could be because the mainland chinese govt does not want to appear to be (at least publicly) in disagreement with the CY Leung administration and hence the call for the internal investigation re the sale by China Mobile to HKTV without the required approval from the Commission overseeing the sale of state assets.


SCMP.com Account