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

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Last updated: 20 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 140

Analyst: Phil Harpur

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Hong Kong’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Regional market comparisons
  • Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Data centres and smart Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Broadband (FTTH, DSL);
  • Internet of Things, 5G developments
  • Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2023-4.

Reseracher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- August 2019 (25th Edition)

Executive Summary

Hong Kong takes strong steps towards launching 5G mobile services

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 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 2024 due to a highly mature and highly competitive market.

Mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2024 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 2018-19, a number of Hong Kong Mobile Operators are paving the way for the introduction of 5G services. China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) has tested an end-to-end 5G network using Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) enabling in-home high-speed Wi-Fi internet access to end-users.

The extensive roll-out of fixed broadband infrastructure has allowed Hong Kong to provide almost all households with access to high-speed broadband connectivity. Internationally, Hong Kong’s broadband penetration rate is among the highest in the world.

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 2024 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.

Underpinned by widely accessible, fast and affordable fixed and mobile broadband services, Hong Kong has developed into a digital economy to improve socio-economic development. Technology has been utilised to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of commerce, government services, healthcare, education and utilities.

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 the highest peak average broadband speeds in the world.

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 2024.

While current data centre sites are sufficient to support immediate demand, Hong Kong needs cheaper land options for data centre usage and government support to achieve its long-term goal as a data centre hub and smart city.

The government has taken steps towards 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 few years to 2024.

Underpinning 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

  • Hong Kong expects the territory to be among the world's earliest adopters of 5G mobile technology in 2020.
  • CMHK claimed to be the first operator in Hong Kong to test an end-to-end 5G network using Customer Premises Equipment (CPE).
  • Mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2024.
  • Fixed-line broadband market penetration has grown slowly over the past five years in a highly mature market.
  • HGC Global Communications is looking to 5G as a key opportunity for its fibre business.
  • Fixed line growth in Hong Kong has declined over the past five years. This trend will continue over the next five years to 2024.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

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

Phil Harpur
August 2019

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