Hong Kong wireless operator prepares converged 4G network for advanced dual-band phones

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 July, 2015, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 July, 2015, 5:59pm

Hong Kong’s second-largest wireless network operator plans to launch an advanced mobile service early next year that combines the world's two 4G network standards over different radio frequency spectrums. 

The company, 3 Hong Kong, is teaming up with Huawei Technologies, China's largest manufacturer of telecoms equipment, to deploy the new infrastructure integrating time-division duplex long-term evolution (TDD-LTE), which is the 4G standard developed in China, with the more mature frequency-division duplex long-term evolution (FDD-LTE).

The converged network will use carrier-aggregation technology to deliver a seamless 4G service over the 1800-megahertz band, the spectrum widely used for FDD-LTE coverage, and the 2300MHz band spectrum used for TDD-LTE, said the company, which serves as the mobile division of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong.

"We will be the first mobile operator in Hong Kong to deploy such a commercial 4G network," Daniel Chung Yiu-man, the chief technology officer for mobile at Hutchison, told the South China Morning Post on Monday.

"Carrier-aggregation technology enables us to fully utilise our spectrum resources and devise long-term plans on network deployment so we can continue to improve the data services we offer customers," Chung said.

3 Hong Kong's mobile subscribers could benefit by having access to a wider bandwidth for high-speed wireless applications like data transfers, video streaming and mobile games, he said.

The company claims to have 3.2 million mobile subscribers as of the end of last year. 

At present, those using its 4G mobile network enjoy a maximum access speed of 250 megabits per second, but this should rise to 300Mbps in 2016, he added.

3 Hong Kong is the only local operator to own blocks of spectrum across the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands.

Chung said the new network was being rolled out to take advantage of the wide availability of advanced dual network-mode 4G smartphones early next year. 

He did not provide an estimated cost, but Hutchison Telecom forecast earlier that the total capital spending for both its fixed and mobile networks would reach between HK$1.4 billion and HK$1.5 billion this year.