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Hong Kong moves forward in its quest to become a smart city

A recent report published by the world’s largest market research store provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Hong Kong’s telecommunications market.

The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband and converging media sectors.

The subjects included in the report were:

  1. Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  2. Regional market comparisons – Telecom Maturity Index;
  3. Major players;
  4. Market statistics, including for operators;
  5. Industry and regulatory issues;
  6. Infrastructure;
  7. Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless); and,
  8. Convergence and Digital Media; Forecasts to 2022 for mobile, mobile broadband and fixed broadband.

Hong Kong’s small size and high population density has enabled the country to extensively rollout fixed broadband infrastructure and provide almost all households with access to high-speed broadband connectivity. This has propelled Hong Kong to boast of having the highest peak average broadband speeds in the world.

Compared to other Asian nations, Hong Kong has very high mobile, mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration.

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

Fixed line growth in Hong Kong has declined over the past five years as consumers migrate to wireless voice and data services. This trend is predicted to continue over the next five years to 2022.

The government has taken steps towards the coordinated development of a smart city. The Hong Kong government announced a range of measures in six areas, including “Smart Mobility”, “Smart Living”, and “Smart Environment”, which will be introduced over the next five years to 2022.

Broadband investment initially focused on DSL and HFC technology platforms although operators have switched focus to higher bandwidth fibre access platforms, due to inherent advantage of fibre access networks over competing platforms, especially in the geographically compact territory of Hong Kong.

Fixed-line broadband market penetration has grown slowly over the past five years in a highly mature market. Over the next five years to 2022 growth is expected to continue to increase slowly.

Demand for broadband is driven by consumption of bandwidth-intensive online services such as OTT video, music and games; the proliferation of Internet-connected devices including TVs, smartphones, tablets and PCs; and increasing usage of corporate broadband services that include cloud services and software.

Hong Kong possesses a small but well developed mobile market and a number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Intense competition within a small market has led to consolidation, with the number of mobile network operators reduced to four.

Mobile subscriber penetration is now well over 200% due to the high number of tourists visiting Hong Kong and a high number of local residents with more than one mobile device. Mobile subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2022 due to a highly mature and highly competitive market.

Strong infrastructure-based competition has forced operators to continually upgrade network capacity and speed, deploying mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA and LTE combined with wireless broadband technologies such as WiFi.

Mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2022 due to a highly mature mobile subscriber market, with a significant proportion of subscribers already having mobile broadband access.

The government of Hong Kong expects the territory to be among the world’s earliest adopters of 5G mobile technology in 2020. During 2017 /2018 a number of Hong Kong Mobile Operators are paving the way for the introduction of 5G services.

The report highlights the key developments that Hong Kong has made, these are as follows:

  1. HGC Global Communications is looking to 5G as a key opportunity for its fibre business;
  2. HKT has set up a “one-stop Internet of Things ecosystem” with multiple connectivity technologies in Hong Kong;
  3. Fixed line growth in Hong Kong has declined over the past five years. This trend will continue over the next five years to 2022;
  4. Hong Kong expects the territory to be among the world’s earliest adopters of 5G mobile technology in 2020;
  5. SmarTone trialled FDD Massive MIMO technology with Ericsson as part of its development plans towards 5G services; and,
  6. Mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2022.
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