Submission to regulator requests five-year stay on use of the spectrum for 3G Hutchison Whampoa is urging the telecommunications watchdog to extend the mobile licence for its ageing CDMA technology for another five years before the regulator switches the spectrum over to third-generation usage. In its submission to the Office of Telecommunications Authority's consultation on the expiry of existing second-generation licences, Hutchison stressed it had 'legitimate expectations' that its existing 2G CDMA mobile licence would be renewed upon its expiry next year. The consultation ended last Saturday. Hutchison warned in its submission that the Ofta could violate the Basic Law if it refused to renew the licence. 'Hutchison has a legitimate expectation that its CDMA licence would be extended or renewed in accordance with its constitutional rights guaranteed by Article 105 of the Basic Law,' it said. The company cited the protection of 'the right of individuals and legal persons to the acquisition, use, disposal and inheritance of property and their right of compensation for lawful deprivation of their property'. Hutchison is also arguing that if it is required to hand back its CDMA spectrum, it would have to write off most of its investment in the network. 'A denial of an extension or renewal of its CDMA licence without due compensation would amount effectively to an expropriation or deprivation of Hutchison's property rights over its CDMA facility, mobile network and infrastructure,' it said. Ofta wants to take back Hutchison's CDMA spectrum and reallocate it to a fifth 3G operator using the CDMA2000 standard. The regulator argues Hutchison is under-utilising the spectrum and has proposed not to renew the licence when it expires. Last year, Hutchison had just 40,000 CDMA subscribers, down from 90,000 in 2002. 'The decline in CDMA subscriber numbers is a direct result of strong GSM development versus CDMA,' it said. Hutchison said it wanted Ofta to grant a 'five-year moratorium' on the use of the CDMA spectrum for a new 3G licence, while extending Hutchison's second-generation CDMA licence. Hutchison also said it should have the right of first refusal if the Ofta wants to change the use of the spectrum to 3G after the moratorium period ends. Rival SmarTone Mobile Communications said it backed Ofta's proposal to take back Hutchison's CDMA licence.