Hong Kong’s smallest mobile operator, SmarTone, announced the launch of commercial 5G services in the territory using Ericsson’s Dynamic Spectrum Technology (DSS).
The carrier said it adopting an integrated approach of combining high, mid and low spectrum bands to build a “robust” 5G network in Hong Kong, and 3.5 GHz spectrum will be progressively deployed across the territory, the telco said.
The operator has 20 megahertz of 3.3 GHz airwaves and 400 megahertz of spectrum in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands.
In its initial stage, SmarTone’s 5G network covers most outdoor locations, popular indoor locations and major roads and highways for commuting customers. The company said that the network will initially cover nearly 70% of Hong Kong population with the goal of reaching citywide 5G coverage by mid-2021.
SmarTone CEO Anna Yip said, “SmarTone is thrilled to mark a new milestone for the Hong Kong telecom industry and brings the best 5G network experience to consumers in Hong Kong. We see limitless potential for 5G with its blazing-fast speed and super-low latency. 5G will benefit both consumers and enterprises and will be one of the key enablers for Hong Kong’s smart city development.”
SmarTone had selected Ericsson as its sole supplier for 5G equipment in March of this year.
For HKD 398 ($51.3) per month, the operator offers customers 80 GB of data, 2 GB of Greater Bay Area roaming data with a China mobile number, and additional SIM cards if needed.
Rival operators China Mobile Hong Kong, Hutchinson and HKT launched commercial 5G services in Hong Kong on April 1.
Along with SmarTone, the operators had acquired 200 megahertz of 3.5 GHz spectrum for HKD1 billion in mid-October 2019. These 5G licenses will be valid for a 15-year period.
China Mobile Hong Kong said that its 5G network will cover the entire Hong Kong city – 90% of the major Central and Western, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay Districts; nearly 90% of the Kwun Tong District; and close to 80% of the Tsuen Wan District.
China Mobile Hong Kong highlighted that it had carried out a 5G standalone network trial in November last year, which allows for the provision of network slicing services.
3 Hong Kong, the mobile arm of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong, noted that its 5G base stations are served by a 10 Gbps optical-fiber backhaul network, and that its 5G service is expected to cover the entire territory within the year. Phase-one will see outdoor coverage initially serving Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok, Sham Shui Po, Shatin and Tai Po. Indoor coverage will include the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, as well as Hongkong Land’s Grade-A shopping malls such as the Landmark Atrium, One and Two Exchange Square, Chater House, Alexandra House and Prince’s Building. Phrase-two will extend outdoor coverage to Island South, Island East, Central and Western District, Yau Tsim Mong, Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, North District, Sai Kung and Islands District.
Meanwhile, HKT had previously said that 5G coverage will initially reach 11 of Hong Kong’s 18 districts.
Hong Kong recently announced a subsidy program with the main aim of encouraging early deployments of 5G technology in the territory. Under the program, the Hong Kong government will provide subsidies for up to 50% of the direct costs related to the deployment of a 5G project, with a cap of HKD500,000 ($64,483). Nearly 100 qualified projects will be subsidized through this approach.