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Hong Kong’s director general of communications, Eliza Lee Man-Ching has responded to scathing criticism over the government’s policy approach to 5G spectrum allocation from its largest operator HKT.

The communications director vowed that Hong Kong would be in the ‘fast lane’ in relation to 5G technology and services, and stated that bands would be allocated as soon as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has finalized its universal 5G spectrum specifications.

She stressed the importance of patience in relation to the next-generation technology, and claimed that launching 5G in a haste fashion would be of no benefit to operators or consumers. The minister’s comments come on the back of claims by HKT who insist that the government’s approach would subsequently result in Hong Kong becoming a ‘third-class citizen’ in mobile service development by delaying 5G.

Hong Kong’s incumbent operator has consistently raised questions surrounding spectrum concerns - and issued a warning in December that the current approach adopted by the government would have a detrimental effect on its effort to deploy 5G technology.

In March, the Communications Authority announced it would open up spectrum in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands in 2019 and bands in 2019 and in the 3.4GHz to 3.7GHz band in 2020. In addition to this, it also disclosed its plans to conduct a public consultation in the second half of 2017 on vacating spectrum that is currently occupied by satellite services.

Following the public declaration by the Communications Authority In March, the announcement was warmly received by HKT, and they conceded that the government was moving in the right direction, but again expressed its concerns that the process was not moving quickly enough. India’s government recently announced it has begun work on preparing itself for 5G, and claimed that it will lead global subscriptions on the technology with North America by 2022.

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