Hong Kong - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 28 Sep 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 135

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Hong Kong government helps subsidize 5G projects

Hong Kong’s small telecom market is among the most highly developed globally. The territory’s emphasis on new technologies has seen it provide widescale fibre-based broadband infrastructure, while 5G services have been available since April 2020. Intense competition within a small market has led to consolidation, with the number of MNOs reduced to four, though there is room in the market for several MVNOs as well.

The high mobile subscriber penetration rate reflects the number of tourists visiting Hong Kong, both from overseas and from mainland China, as also the popularity among local residents to have more than one mobile device ad SIM card. Subscriber growth is expected to be steady but relatively low through to 2025, with high penetration offering limits to stronger growth.

Broadband investment was initially focused on DSL and HFC platforms although operators have switched their focus to fibre. This migration has been rendered feasible in Hong Kong given the advantages of the geographically compact territory, the low cost of fibre network deployment, and the relative ease of covering high-density premises.

Demand for broadband is driven by the consumption of bandwidth-intensive online services such as OTT video, music and games; the proliferation of internet connected devices, and the growing use of corporate broadband services including cloud services and software.

Underpinned by widely accessible, fast and affordable fixed and mobile broadband infrastructure, Hong Kong has created a sophisticated digital economy to encourage social inclusion and economic development. Various technologies have been utilised to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of commerce, government services, healthcare, education and utilities.

International internet connectivity continues to grow, driven by Hong Kong’s status as an international financial hub.

Supporting the delivery of digital economy services is increasing affordability and sophistication of end user devices and IOT connected sensors as well as continual investment in network infrastructure to connect end-user devices as well as integration of new mobile related technologies designed to improve wireless broadband capacity and service quality.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • Regulator approves first batch of subsidies 5G schemes;
  • HKT begins deploying AirPON solution to remote villages;
  • Consultation launched on refarming 2.5GHz spectrum for 5G use;
  • Us prevents lighting Hong Kong branch line to the Pacific Light cable network;
  • SmarTone launches 5G services;
  • Regulator considers auctioning an additional 80MHz of spectrum for 5G;
  • Government sets subsidy scheme to encourage 5G projects;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to April 2020, telcos’ operating data to Q1 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

Hong Kong Telecom (HKT), Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong Holdings (Hutchison 3), SmarTone, Vodafone Enterprise Global, China Mobile HK, CITIC Telecom, CSL; Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN); i-Cable, HGC Global Communications.

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