New Term Assignment of Spectrum in the 900 MHz Band

The Office of the Communications Authority (“OFCA”) announces that spectrum handover among mobile network operators (“MNOs”) was successfully completed on January 12, 2021.

The new assignment of Spectrum in the 900 MHz band will be effecting the re-assignment of a total of 50 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band (i.e. 890 – 915 MHz band paired with 935 – 960 MHz band) (the “Spectrum”).

Individual MNOs may take the opportunity of the aforementioned spectrum re-assignment to refarm part of the assigned frequency spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands for the provision of more advanced mobile services. With less spectrum deployed for 2G networks, MNOs may gradually scale down their provision of 2G services. Customers using old mobile handsets which support reception of 2G services with only one of the above frequency bands may be affected in the process.

In December 2017, the Communications Authority decided to re-assign the Spectrum through auction after two rounds of public consultation on the arrangements for re-assignment of the Spectrum upon the expiry of the assignment term on January 12, 2021. The auction was successfully completed in December 2018, resulting in part of the Spectrum changing hands upon commencement of the new term of assignment to the MNOs, namely China Mobile Hong Kong Company Limited, Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) Limited, Hutchison Telephone Company Limited and SmarTone Mobile Communications Limited. In May 2019, OFCA set up a technical working group engaging all the MNOs concerned to identify and complete the technical works necessary for the spectrum handover. Through the efforts of the technical working group, the handover has been smoothly implemented to ensure the continuous provision of public mobile services using the Spectrum.

The new assignment term of the Spectrum commenced on January 12, 2021 for a 15-year period until January 11, 2036.

If consumers have any enquiries about the 2G services currently provided to them, they are advised to contact their service providers for more information, and consider whether to upgrade their service plans and mobile devices for better service quality as well as more advanced and innovative functions and features available from newer generation of mobile services.

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