Hong Kong has one of the most sophisticated and successful telecommunications markets in the world. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Government) adopts pro-competition and pro-consumer telecommunications policies with the following objectives:
- the widest range of quality telecommunications services should be available to the community at reasonable prices;
- telecommunications services should be provided in the most economically efficient manner possible; and
- Hong Kong should serve as the preeminent communications hub for the region.
Telecommunications services in Hong Kong are fully liberalised and all provided by the private sector. There are no foreign ownership restrictions for telecommunications service providers. It is the policy of the Government that there should be a level playing field in these regards and ensure that consumers get the best services available in terms of capacity, quality, and price.
Major mobile network operators have launched commercial 5G mobile services in Hong Kong from April 2020. The Government has spared no effort to promote 5G development in Hong Kong in various fronts, from making available spectrum supply, facilitating expansion of networks, to encouraging early deployment of 5G applications:
Spectrum supply: Radio spectrum provides the backbone for the provision of public mobile services. In 2019, some 4,500 MHz of radio spectrum were made available to the industry for the provision of 5G services. More spectrum in various frequency bands will further be released to the market in 2021. Under the technology-neutral principle in managing radio spectrum, network operators may freely re-farm other spectrum held by them to provide 5G services. Learn more about our work on spectrum supply.
Network expansion: Mobile network operators need to build more radio base stations in the 5G era than those required by previous generations of mobile technologies to ensure a territory-wide network coverage of 5G services. To facilitate network implementation of the operators, we have opened up over 1,000 government premises for their establishment of 5G radio base stations with a streamlined application process. We are also opening up other public facilities such as sheltered bus stops, public payphone kiosks, and more government premises under the “demand-led” approach to further facilitate deployment of 5G networks by mobile network operators.
Fibre coverage: Household broadband penetration rate in Hong Kong (over 90%) is among the highest worldwide, though the progress of extending network coverage to remote villages in the New Territories and outlying islands is relatively slower under a purely market-driven approach. We are therefore implementing a subsidy scheme to encourage the extension of fibre-based networks to villages in remote areas. The newly built fibre networks will be extended to the concerned villages in phases from 2021, benefitting 235 villages and 110,000 villagers.
5G deployment: To encourage public and private sectors to deploy 5G applications early with a view to fostering innovation and enhancing Hong Kong’s overall competitiveness, the “Subsidy Scheme for Encouraging Early Deployment of 5G” is open for application from 5 May 2021 to 31 July 2022, or until the fund is exhausted. Under the scheme, we would subsidise 50% of the costs directly relevant to the deployment of 5G technology, subject to a cap of $500,000, in an approved project which can bring substantive benefits to the business or sector concerned.
Learn more about our initiatives in supporting 5G development from the thematic website, Embracing the New 5G Era.
The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance regulates all messages advertising or promoting goods or services and are sent by electronic means, such as pre-recorded telephone messages, faxes, emails, and messages through short messaging services or multimedia messaging services.
All these messages with a Hong Kong link, such as a message originated in Hong Kong, sent to a Hong Kong telephone number or electronic address, received in Hong Kong, or sent or authorised by a person in Hong Kong or by a Hong Kong company/organization, are regulated by the ordinance.
Telecommunications technologies have been developing in leaps and bounds. The Government completed the Review of Telecommunications Regulatory Framework in 2019. A number of measures are proposed with a view to modernising the telecommunications regulatory framework to embrace the arrival of 5G and Internet of Things technologies and to facilitate the trade. The legislative process for implementing the measures is underway. The Government will continue to keep in view updates and developments in the telecommunications sector and strive to provide a conducive environment for the development of the local telecommunications industry.
Hong Kong participates either under the name of “Hong Kong, China” or as part of the delegation of the People's Republic of China in the activities of international and regional telecommunications organisations, including the International Telecommunication Union, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, and the Asia Pacific Telecommunity. Hong Kong also plays an active role in the participation of various conferences, seminars, and exhibitions convened by the private sector in the telecommunications industry.