Embracing the New 5G Era
“Embracing the New 5G Era” is a thematic website which aims to enhance public understanding on how the fifth generation (5G) mobile technology will change our means of communications and enable the development of various innovative applications. This website also introduces the preparatory work carried out by the Communications Authority (CA) and the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) for the launch of 5G services in Hong Kong.
Supply of new spectrum for provision of 5G services in Hong Kong
Supply of additional radio spectrum to the industry for the provision of 5G services is one of the CA’s key preparatory works to facilitate 5G development in Hong Kong.
The CA announced in its work plan in March 2017 the decision to make available a total of about 4500 MHz of spectrum in multiple frequency bands for the provision of 5G services. This amount of spectrum represents more than eight times the existing spectrum being assigned for public mobile services. The progress of Hong Kong in releasing the spectrum to the market is comparable to that of other advanced economies and is in line with the global target of launching 5G services in 2020 as the market has generally expected.
Details of the spectrum in different frequency bands released for the provision of 5G services in Hong Kong and the corresponding progress of 5G spectrum release in other advanced economies are illustrated in the table below:
Summary of Assignment Arrangements of 5G Spectrum in Various Frequency Bands
28 GHz: US, Japan and South Korea
(*) Any use within the restriction zones of Tai Po and Stanley shall comply with the relevant guidelines and directions issued by the CA.
- In addition to the above, the Government plans to make available a maximum of 160 MHz spectrum in the 600/700 MHz bands primarily for the provision of indoor mobile telecommunications services (including 5G) after the switch-off of analogue television services, which will help relieve congested traffic in indoor mobile hotspots, such as MTR stations.
Facilitating mobile network operators (MNOs) and other interested parties to conduct 5G trials
To facilitate the telecommunications industry to adopt 5G technologies as soon as possible, OFCA has been actively encouraging and supporting the telecommunications industry to conduct various trials for 5G radio transmissions and technology applications since 2017. OFCA has been issuing trial permits with free of charge and short-term assignment of 5G spectrum in various frequency bands to MNOs and other interested parties for the conduct of technical tests using 5G radio equipment. The test results are published for public information and made available at ‘Technical Reports’ on the OFCA website.
Facilitating base station and
small cell installation
Like developing 3G and 4G networks and services in the past, MNOs have to progressively install denser 5G radio base stations and a large number of 5G small cells in various districts of Hong Kong prior to the launch of 5G services, in order to provide 5G network coverage and capacity to support very high-speed data transmission and more diversified mobile services. Generally speaking, MNOs will roll out 5G services in different districts gradually based on their own commercial considerations, network and service plans, implementation timetables, etc., and they will need time to extend their network and service coverage to different locations in the districts.
OFCA endeavours to provide necessary assistance to MNOs to facilitate their installation of base stations at government buildings and public facilities.
In parallel, OFCA will continue to ensure that the level of non-ionising radiation of base stations and small cells are in compliance with internationally recognised safety standards and limits.