Date
14 December 2018
Hong Kong's consultation paper on 5G network coverage has triggered mixed reactions from the industry. Photo: Office of the Communications Authority
Hong Kong's consultation paper on 5G network coverage has triggered mixed reactions from the industry. Photo: Office of the Communications Authority

Why 5G restriction zone would be a problem

Governments and telecom operators in most developed nations are striving to get in the forefront of offering next generation 5G mobile broadband services. Among various regions, Britain has already completed 5G spectrum auction, while Hong Kong has just begun the consultation process.

Hong Kong’s Office of the Communications Authority mentioned in a statement in March that the authority will redistribute the 3.4GHz to 3.7Ghz wireless spectrum from fixed satellite service into public mobile telecom service. It has to grant affected satellite license holders two years to prepare.

The 200 MHz from the 3.4GHz to 3.5 GHz band will be assigned for public mobile telecom service, and the 100 MHz from the 3.6GHz to 3.7GHz will be used as the separating band, in order to mitigate and minimize intervention against satellite services in the spectrum of 3.7GHz and 4.2GHz.

Currently, there are satellite stations in Tai Po and Stanley, and they are using the band of 3.4GHz and 3.7GHz for satellite remote test, tracking and control.

Therefore, the Office of the Communications Authority intends to set up a restricted zone and prevent mobile bases from using the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz band for public mobile telecom services.

In the consultation paper, authorities have outlined a 5G prohibited zone, which includes Tai Po, some areas in Sha Tin, Ma On Shan, Fanling and Sai Kung. 

Most local telecom operators are opposing such a big area of restricted 5G service. They believe it would hamper the development of 5G services and hence the smart city plan.

Had the authorities started the consultation a couple of years earlier, it could have used the money from auctioning of 5G spectrums to subsidize satellite license holders for relocating to remote areas or switching to other bands.

As an alternative, I have a bold suggestion, that each satellite station can use high fences to prevent interventions from nearby 5G stations. In this case, satellite signals can be smoothly sent and received, and it won’t be necessary to use the 100MHz spectrum for separating bands.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 31

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RC

Hong Kong Information Technology Federation honorary chairman

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