• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 7:38pm
NewsHong Kong

Ricky Wong plans court action as HKTV plans hit 'dead end'

Ofca tells HKTV that it has to get a domestic free-to-view or pay-TV licence first before launching new mobile TV service

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 6:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 9:49am

The entrepreneur who revolutionalised Hong Kong's telecom market says the government has pushed him to a dead end after it repeatedly blocked him from entering the television market.

Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay said yesterday he would take the battle to court after the government cited legal reasons to stop him from launching a mobile television service on July 1.

"This is a laughable and violent move," Wong said. "The Hong Kong government has stopped us from realising our dreams again and again. We have reached a dead end. We just want to make good TV. Do 'you' have to go this far?"

He was speaking after the Office of the Communications Authority (Ofca) told HKTV that unless it limited its audience to 5,000 households or fewer it would have to apply for a free or pay television licence under the Broadcasting Ordinance.

"I'm left with no choice but to postpone the HKTV launch and suspend production of new programmes," Wong said.

"It's ridiculous ... more fictional than fiction," Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said.

HKTV's application for a free-to-air television licence was rejected without a convincing explanation last October after a three-year wait. It caused public outrage with tens of thousands mounting a week-long rally outside government headquarters.

Watch: HKTV supporters gather at Hong Kong government to protest against failed licence last November

HKTV pressed ahead with plans for a mobile service in December after acquiring China Mobile Hong Kong Corporation for HK$142 million along with its mobile television licence.

Wong said Ofca had not stopped the previous owner from operating a mobile service and he could not see the grounds for Ofca's latest stance.

Wong has spent more than HK$1 billion on his television plan but said he had no plans for layoffs among his 300 HKTV staff. He denied he was negotiating a deal with ATV.

Wong, who attended last Sunday's media-freedom protest after the attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to, refused to say whether he had offended anyone that might have led to the government's determination to stop the launch of HKTV. "I'm just a businessman. I have no plans to offend anyone. Today's Hong Kong is no longer the Hong Kong I used to know. We are now in the state of terror."



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This article is now closed to comments

If Ricky still does not know that the HK government is out to **** him good..............then he's actually as dumb as he looks..........Entrepreneur, yes he has those skills. But common sense as to why he is still not able to broadcast anything should tell him that he is not "liked".
Simple as that Ricky.............wake up!
"Today's Hong Kong is no longer the Hong Kong I used to know."
2047 is much closer than we thought.
We are no longer frog in hot water anymore, that time has passed; we are already dead.
Broadcast on the Internet. Do an end run around the government and the whole system. Everything is going that way anyway.
I believe that is what they're describing as his "mobile" service. The issue here I believe is how come China mobile was allowed to operate a mobile service under the same conditions, whereas HKTV has been told they need to apply for new licenses.
Actually looks like blue has a good answer below! check it out.
Seems I was right. From another article: "Information-technology lawmaker Charles Mok said the reason the government had suddenly decided to invoke the Broadcasting Ordinance was Wong's plan to use set-top boxes to allow households to watch mobile TV programmes at home."
Dai Muff
By the same standard my Apple TV should be illegal. It is a set top box through which I can view not only youtube videos but also podcasts.
Your Apple TV obtains its video content over the Internet. That's not the same thing as using a set top box to obtain video content over a private mobile telecommunications network (which has nothing to do with the Internet) from a regulatory standpoint.

Your Apple TV should and is perfectly legal. It has nothing to do with Ricky Wong's problem.

Ricky Wong can work around this problem by having his set top box accept an Internet transmission instead, but he's clearly against that since that's not a dedicated network that he owns and fully controls.

Transmitting via the Internet to his set top box would also put him at the mercy of Internet Service Providers, since every person using his set top box would then also need a Internet Service Provider account.

Most people indeed have an ISP account, but Ricky still can not guarantee the quality of the network that the ISP provides. Furthermore, since HK has no net neutrality laws (neither does the USA), the ISPs could then legally extort additional money out of him in the same manner that Comcast Cable (A big US based ISP that has a regional monopoly) extorted money from Netflix in the USA in order to be able to *reliably* deliver streaming video content to the ISP's subscribers.
Dai Muff
RTHK is already exploring Smart TV. Ricky should do likewise.
so he paid a 142 million for a company with a tv license that he CANNOT USE !




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