Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has published an invitation for applications to bid for radio spectrum in the 678MHz-686MHz band to be used for broadcasting mobile TV, in an auction to be conducted in May 2010.
A spokesperson at the regulator announced: 'At present, 2.5G and 3G mobile operators are deploying streaming-type point-to-point technologies to deliver audio-visual content to consumers. The assignment of the 678MHz-686MHz band will enable the deployment of broadcast-type point-to-multipoint technologies to deliver audio-visual content to a much larger number of consumers.'
Both new entrants and incumbent mobile operators may take part in the auction, and to reflect the value of the radio spectrum as a scarce public resource, the government has set the minimum fee at HKD24 million ($3.1 million), although this is expected to rise higher in the auction. The assignment of the radio spectrum will be valid for 15 years. The successful bidder, which will be assigned the spectrum under a unified carrier licence, will be required to use at least 75 per cent of the transmission capacity to deliver mobile TV content, and to provide service coverage to at least 50 per cent of the Hong Kong population within 18 months from the grant of the licence.