Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority announced that PCCW-HKT Telephone Limited has launched CDMA2000 mobile service in Hong Kong.
This new service will enable visitors from other parts of the world to use their CDMA2000/CDMA IS-95 mobile phones to roam with the company's CDMA2000 network in Hong Kong. The CDMA2000 network is the fifth 3G network in Hong Kong and all the other four are WCDMA/HSPA networks. In October 2007, PCCW-HKT Telephone Limited, as the only bidder in the tender, gained the CDMA2000 license in an open auction.
The competitions in Hong Kong's telecom market are severe. In this market with a population of only seven million, there are six mobile operators, which spares little space for growth. Prior to this, PCCW launched WCDMA/HSPA services, so the new CDMA services will mainly focus on roaming. PCCW says that to serve customers from all over the world is consistent with the Office of the Telecommunications Authority of Hong Kong's goal of enhancing Hong Kong's strategic position as a world city gateway between the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world. As for local users, the company suggests they use the WCDMA services.
The new service mainly aims to meet the communications demand of visitors from mainland China, Japan, South Korea and the United States, though the local Hong Kong users can also register for the service. Under a two-year service contract, PCCW will provide voice and data services. Of these services, call forwarding, display of caller ID and call waiting are offered for free, but the SMS, MMS, voice mail and international roaming will not be included in the monthly package fee. In addition, PCCW will not provide CDMA handsets, data card or pre-paid CDMA card.
At present, PCCW has signed roaming agreements with China Telecom, Macau's CTM, Taiwan's Asia Pacific Telecom, KDDI, SK Telecom, LG Telecom and Sprint.
"This is the fifth 3G mobile network in Hong Kong, in addition to the four WCDMA networks licensed in 2001. At service launch, the new network offers high speed data and voice services conforming to the CDMA2000 standard in the golden bowl areas covering the Kowloon peninsula and the northern part of Hong Kong Island. The service coverage will be further extended to cover places such as the airport, Mass Transit Railway stations, the road tunnels and border control points," stated a spokesperson from OFTA.
Hong Kong's government promulgated the spectrum policy framework in April 2007. Among the spectrum policy objectives, one objective is to strengthen Hong Kong's strategic position as a world city and the gateway between the mainland China and the world. As CDMA2000 is one of the major mobile communications standards adopted in many parts of the world, including mainland China, the OFTA decided in April 2007 to make available the spectrum in the 850 MHz band for the provision of CDMA2000 service through an open auction.